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Etymology 1[edit]

From English dialectal (Kentish) dingy (dirty), of unknown origin, though probably from an unrecorded Middle English *dingy, *düngy, from Old English *dyncgiġ (covered with dung, dirty), an umlaut form of Old English duncge, dung (dung), equivalent to dung +‎ -y. [1]


  • IPA(key): /ˈdɪn.d͡ʒi/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪndʒi


dingy (comparative dingier, superlative dingiest)

  1. dark, dull
    • 1960 December, “The Glasgow Suburban Electrification is opened”, in Trains Illustrated, page 713:
      The station has been refurbished both at ground level and below ground, where the wide, fluorescently lit platforms are an almost unrecognisable metamorphosis of the dingy, reeking Low Level of old.
    Synonyms: drab, gloomy, dreary, dismal
    Antonym: bright
  2. shabby, squalid, uncared-for
    • 1854, Charles Dickens, Household Words:
      He led her at last into a dingy sanctum, dimly lighted by one shaded lamp. In this safe there were piles of dingy papers and more dingy ledgers ; with great piles of accounts on hooks in the wall
    • 2009, Sophie Kinsella, The Secret Dreamworld Of A Shopaholic: (Shopaholic Book 1):
      She's looking from Tarquin to Fenella with shining eyes, and I look at the picture interestedly over her shoulder. But to be honest, I can't say I'm impressed. For a start it's really dingy – all sludgy greens and brown
    Synonyms: grimy, dirty
    Antonym: pristine
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]


dingy (plural dingies)

  1. Alternative form of dinghy


  1. ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2023), “dingy”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.