From Italian bimbo (“a child, a male baby”), variant of bambino (“child”). Originated in Italian American theater, attested 1919, as “stupid, inconsequential man”, by 1920 developed sense of “floozie, attractive and stupid woman”. Popularized in 1920s by Jack Conway of entertainment magazine Variety, who also popularized baloney (“nonsense”) and palooka (“large stupid man”). Revived in popularity in 1980s US political sex scandals. Compare also German Bimbo (“nigger; servant”), which might be unrelated, however.
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈbɪmbəʊ/
- (US) enPR: bĭm'bō, IPA(key): /ˈbɪmboʊ/
Audio (US) (file)
- Rhymes: -ɪmbəʊ
- (derogatory, slang) A physically attractive woman who lacks intelligence.
- (derogatory, slang) A stupid or foolish person.
(physically attractive woman who lacks intelligence):
- A bimbo is a woman who is not pretty enough to be a model, not smart enough to be an actress, and not nice enough to be a poisonous snake. — P. J. O’Rourke
- 2004: Fey [...] makes hay with the thought processes of a purebred bimbo — The New Yorker, 10 May 2004.
(stupid or foolish person):
1960, P. G. Wodehouse, Jeeves in the Offing, chapter III:
- And one had to remember that most of the bimbos to whom Roberta Wickham had been giving the bird through the years had been of the huntin', shootin' and fishin' type, fellows who had more or less shot their bolt after saying 'Eh, what?' and slapping their leg with a hunting crop.
- “bimbo” in Douglas Harper, Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001–2018.
Variant of bambino (“child”).
- → English: bimbo