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something whose name is unknown or forgotten


thingy = Ding, Dingsda, Dingsbums



"Hovering above the Olympic Park on a warm, blue-skied night was the weirdly lovely red plastic THINGY that twists towards heaven for no other reason than it looks great, designed by Anish Kapoor and Cecil Balmond."

The Guardian

Did you

noun, colloquial

- something that is hard to classify or whose name is unknown or forgotten

- a person or thing whose name one has forgotten, does not know, or does not wish to mention

Merriam-Webster / The Oxford Dictionary


The first records of the word “thingy” are from the 1700s from Scotland, where it was used to refer to little things. Later, in the 1800s, “thingy” became more widespread and was used referring to a non-specific object. The suffix -y serves to make the word diminutive or informal.


Thingy is a so-called “placeholder name”, which is a word that can be used when the name of an object, person or place is temporarily forgotten.

Placeholder names are perfect for just about any occasion when our mind suddenly goes blank and we need to keep the sentence flowing (see following synonyms).


- a person or thing(s) whose name one cannot recall, does not know, or does not wish to specify:

accoutrements, artefact, black box, contraption, contrivance, critter, curio, dingbat, dingus, doings, doo-dah, doodad, doohickey, entity, fandango, gadget, gadgetry, gear, gizmo, gubbins, habiliments, Heath Robinson device, hoobajoob, implement, instrument, item, jiggambob, Joe Blow, John (Jane) Doe, knickknack, mechanism, nicknack, oojah, paraphernalia, Rube Goldberg device, so-and-so, something, stuff, tackle, thing, thingamabob, thingamajig, thingamajigger, thingie, THINGY, thingmabob, thingmajig, things, thingumajig, thingummabob, thingummajig, thingummy, thingummyjig, Tom-Dick-and-Harry, tool, utensil, whaddayacallit, what’s-his-name, what’s-it, what’s-it’s-name, what’s-its-name, what-d’you-call-him, what-d’you-call-it, whatchamacallit, whatdoyoucallit, whatever, whatever it is, whatever it is called, whatnot, whatshername, whatshisname, whatsis, whatsit, whatsitsname, widget

SMUGGLE OWAD into an English online conversation, say something like:

“Hey James, what’s that interesting red THINGY I see on the bookshelf behind your back?”

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Paul Smith, IBAN: DE75 7316 0000 0002 5477 40

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