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whachamacallit

or what·cha·ma·call·it

[ hwuhch-uh-muh-kawl-it, hwoch-, wuhch-, woch- ]
/ ˈʰwʌtʃ ə məˌkɔl ɪt, ˈʰwɒtʃ-, ˈwʌtʃ-, ˈwɒtʃ- /
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noun Informal.

an object or person whose name one does not know or cannot recall.

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Also what-do-you-call-it, whad·dya·call·it [hwuhd-uh-yuh-kawl-it, hwod-, wuhd-, wod-] /ˈʰwʌd ə yəˌkɔl ɪt, ˈʰwɒd-, ˈwʌd-, ˈwɒd-/ .

Origin of whachamacallit

First recorded in 1940–45; spelling of what you may call it or what do you call it, the first reflecting affrication of t before y and reduction of vowels; compare similar metric pattern and internal əmə in rigamarole, thingamajig

Words nearby whachamacallit

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

VOCAB BUILDER

What does whachamacallit mean?

Whachamacallit 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 also commonly spelled whatchamacallit. Similar terms are what-do-you-call-it and whaddyacallit.

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 whachamacallit here. 

The word is also sometimes used to refer to things that are not physical objects, such as events, types of media, or abstract concepts. Whachamacallit can be used to refer to a person whose name you can’t remember, but this is rare (terms more commonly used for this purpose are what’s-her-name, what’s-his-name, and what’s-their-name).

There are several other similarly informal words that are used in the same way as whachamacallit, including whatsit, thingamajig, thingamabob, thingy, doohickey, and doodad.

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

Where does whachamacallit come from?

The first records of the word whachamacallit come from the 1900s. It’s based on the question What you may call it? or What do you call it?

Today, 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 whachamacallit). Sometimes, it’s used just to be a bit funny, even if you actually know the name of the object you’re referring to.

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What are some other forms related to whachamacallit?

  • whatchamacallit (alternate spelling)

What are some synonyms for whachamacallit?

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

 

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

 

How is whachamacallit used in real life?

Whachamacallit 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. It’s commonly spelled whatchamacallit.

 

Try using whachamacallit!

Is whachamacallit used correctly in the following sentence?

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

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