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

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
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
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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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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Slang Dictionary

dingbat definition


  1. n.
    a name for a gadget. : Isn't there supposed to be a little red dingbat that goes in this hole?
  2. n.
    a stupid person. : Who is the dingbat with Bob?
  3. n.
    any undesirable person. (Also a rude term of address.) : I'm tired of reading about that dingbat in the paper every day.
Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions by Richard A. Spears.Fourth Edition.
Copyright 2007. Published by McGraw-Hill Education.
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Example sentences
We're shooting the breeze about the dingbat diplomatic corps.
They were called dingbat houses because of the quick and shoddy way they were constructed.
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