din·​gus ˈdiŋ-(g)əs How to pronounce dingus (audio)
plural dinguses
informal : an often small article whose common name is unknown or forgotten : gadget, doodad sense 2
In his [Dashiell Hammett's] writings of the period from 1924 to 1952, "dingus" signifies, variously, a magician's prop, a typewriter, a short story, a novel, and an elusive artifact, a black bird better known as the Maltese Falcon.Mark McGurl
… the boy was decked out in a fancy uniform with silver buttons and a cap with a dingus on the top.Sholem Aleichem
US slang : a dim-witted, silly, or foolish person
often used in a joking or friendly way
By most accounts, [Hunter] Strickland is actually a sweet feller. Respected by his teammates, nice to the fans, et cetera. But he sure is a dingus on the mound sometimes.Grant Brisbee
Think back to when you were 17 and how much of a dingus you could be …Pacific Takes

Examples of dingus in a Sentence

it seems to be missing some little dingus that holds everything in place
Recent Examples on the Web The turn that even the most regal of short kings would be promptly discarded for any dingus who looks like Jacob Elordi is the episode’s most successful use of the actor’s appearance as a plot point. Joe Berkowitz, Vulture, 21 Jan. 2024 Almost all are some form of dingus. Dan Carson, Chron, 16 Apr. 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'dingus.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Dutch or German; Dutch dinges, probably from German Dings, from genitive of Ding thing, from Old High German — more at thing

First Known Use

1873, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of dingus was in 1873

Dictionary Entries Near dingus

Cite this Entry

“Dingus.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dingus. Accessed 20 Jul. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!