thingamajig

or thing·u·ma·jig

[ thing-uh-muh-jig ]
/ ˈθɪŋ ə məˌdʒɪg /

noun Informal.

a gadget or other thing for which the speaker does not know or has forgotten the name.

QUIZZES

BECOME A PRO CHEF WITH THIS EXQUISITE CUISINE QUIZ!

Even if you can't be a professional chef, you can at least talk like one with this vocabulary quiz.
Question 1 of 9
You may have read the word "simmer" in a recipe or two, but what does it really mean?
Also called thing·a·ma·bob, thing·u·ma·bob [thing-uh-muh-bob]; /ˈθɪŋ ə məˌbɒb/; thing·um·bob [thing-uhm-bob] /ˈθɪŋ əmˌbɒb/ .

Origin of thingamajig

First recorded in 1870–75; thingum or thingummy + jig1, metrically patterned like gobbledygook,rigamarole;thingum perhaps originally from the gradational compound thingum-thangum (based on thing1) with the same terminal syllable as in crinkum-crankum,harum-scarum, trinkum-trankum, perhaps dog Latin or a facetious alteration of trinkets
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

VOCAB BUILDER

What does thingamajig mean?

Thingamajig is a very informal word for an object whose name you don’t know, have forgotten, or can’t recall at the moment.

It’s often used to refer to gadgets or parts of things that might not even have a commonly known name, as in Before we attach the bracket, we have to insert this thingamajig here. 

Thingamajig is sometimes used even if you know the name of the thing you’re referring to. It can be used to be dismissive or to downplay the importance or value of an object, such as when someone is admiring it, as in What, these old thingamajigs? I’ve got a whole boxful of ’em. Take as many as you want. 

Less commonly, it can be spelled thingumajig. There are several other similarly informal words that are used in the same way, including thingamabob, thingy, whachamacallit, whatsit, doohickey, and doodad.

Example: My kids got me one of those thingamajigs that track your steps. What’s it called? A stepometer?

Where does thingamajig come from?

The first records of the word thingamajig come from the 1870s. The first part of the words thingamajig and thingamabob comes from the word thingum, an informal variant of the word thing similar to thingy. The word jig is used in the sense of a kind of mechanical device.

Have you got a junk drawer full of thingamajigs? The word is especially used to refer to small, physical objects, but its ambiguous nature means it can be used for all kinds of things (which is really the point of a word like thingamajig). Sometimes, it’s used just to be a bit funny, even if you actually know the name of the object you’re referring to.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to thingamajig?

  • thingumajig (alternate spelling)

What are some synonyms for thingamajig?

What are some words that share a root or word element with thingamajig

 

What are some words that often get used in discussing thingamajig?

 

How is thingamajig used in real life?

Thingamajig is very informal. It’s especially used in speech as a way for the speaker to refer to something whose name they don’t know or can’t remember at that moment.

 

 

Try using thingamajig!

Is thingamajig used correctly in the following sentence?

This darn thingamajig doesn’t even work anymore—can you pick up another one at the store?

Example sentences from the Web for thingamajig

  • By Jove, Madge, I jolly well hoisted him with his own thingamajig!

    The Prodigal Father|J. Storer Clouston