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Unknown, US mid 19th century.



dingbat (plural dingbats)

  1. (informal) A silly, crazy or stupid person.
    • 2003, The Gilmore Girls (TV, episode 4.07)
      "The fire department is out here because some dingbat parked in the red zone."
    • 1978, World according to Garp, John Irving, chapter 2
      "'Midge was such a dingbat', Jenny Fields wrote in her autobiografy, 'that she went to Hawaii for a vacation during World War Two.'"
  2. (typography) A special ornamental typographical symbol, such as a bullet, an arrow, a pointing hand etc.
    • 1982, The Elements of Editing: A Modern Guide for Editors and Journalists, Arthur Plotnik, p.8
      "The compulsive editor, when checking the specs on an article, can't help checking also for such items as initial capital and closing dingbat, if they are used routinely. These decorative items have a way of being forgotten..."
  3. (architecture) An architectural style of apartment building, where the second storey overhangs an area for parking cars.

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