ding bat

dingbat

[ding-bat]
noun
1.
Slang. an eccentric, silly, or empty-headed person.
3.
Printing. an ornamental piece of type for borders, separators, decorations, etc.
4.
an object, as a brick, serving as a missile.

Origin:
1830–40; origin uncertain

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World English Dictionary
dingbat (ˈdɪŋˌbæt)
 
n
1.  any unnamed object, esp one used as a missile
2.  a crazy or stupid person
 
[C19: of unknown origin]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

dingbat
1838, Amer.Eng., "some kind of alcoholic drink," of unknown origin. One of that class of words (e.g. dingus, doohickey, gadget, gizmo, thingumabob) which are conjured up to supply names for items whose proper names are unknown or not recollected. Used at various periods for "money," "a professional tramp,"
"a muffin," "a typographical ornament," "male genitalia," "a Chinese," "an Italian," "a woman who is neither your sister nor your mother," and "a foolish person in authority." Popularized in sense of "foolish person" by TV show "All in the Family" (1971), though this usage dates from 1905.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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