Share this entry

dingbat Line breaks: ding|bat
Pronunciation: /ˈdɪŋbat/

Definition of dingbat in English:


1North American & Australian /NZ A stupid or eccentric person.
Example sentences
  • I really appreciated that he walked me though the initial binocular lesson without making me feel like a dingbat.
  • So go to a dentist, dingbat, you're saying to yourself as you read this.
  • While dingbats throw brickbats, he continues his reporting on the memo in the senate.
2 (dingbats) Australian /NZ Delusions or feelings of unease, particularly those induced by delirium tremens.
3A typographical device other than a letter or numeral (such as an asterisk), used to signal divisions in text or to replace letters in a euphemistically presented vulgar word.
Example sentences
  • He has been collecting commercial misadventures for some time, and we heartily recommend the orange cone (‘the typographical dingbat of public spaces’) of his own gallery.
  • The designs, which recall both asterisks and shamrocks, also circle back to the Warhol-inspired dingbats of Daisy Chain, and the color reinforces the theme of luck.
  • Unfortunately the desire was one that was hard to forget and so the sigil didn't work, but I believe the theory is strong, and there are some wonderfully arcane dingbats out there if you know where to look.


Mid 19th century (in early use applied to various vaguely specified objects): origin uncertain; perhaps based on ding2. sense 2 is probably by association with have bats in the belfry.

Words that rhyme with dingbat

Nanga Parbat • brickbat

Definition of dingbat in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day coiffeur
Pronunciation: kwɑːˈfəː
a hairdresser