Anonymous asked in Education & ReferenceWords & Wordplay · 9 years ago

What is the origin of the word "humdinger"?

Don't just Google it. I want to hear from people who can tell a tale not recite Wiki.

7 Answers

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    Hi Paul -

    Gerry means well, but he doesn't have my enormous 4lbs, 2073 page tome of Word Origins, sitting in his bathroom for over 10 yrs.

    [now Gerry is jealous and wants one for Christmas]


    Is actually a perfect example of the growth of the English language over many, many years.

    'Humdinger' has very old origins, so old that it has gone through as many stages of 'evolution' it can go and is sadly on its way out of the modern dictionary -- that is why you don't hear it much these days.

    'Humdinger' began in MIDDLE ENGLISH - Middle English is the stage roughly during the four centuries between the late 1200s through the late 1400s.

    From the Middle English -- ‘Dingen’ -- to beat or beater, for instance, "The new guy on that race horse is gonna digen everyone." or "That big boxer has never lost a fight, he's the grand dingen!"

    'Dingen' came over on the Mayflower and 'Dingen' became 'Ding' - Because Americans and Australians are famous for slicing and dicing the English language and shortening words, in the early 1700s.

    By the early 1800s we have evolved 'Ding' into the word "Dinger" in American English - the early American dialect the English were so fond of making fun of. Still meaning pretty much the same thing --- ' to beat, to surpass, to excel'.

    By the mid-1800s 'Dinger' became more of a superlative noun -- "That horse is a Dinger!" meaning something outstanding of its kind.

    After the American Civil War with such an incredible loss of life, the lines of the 'gentry' and the working man faded a great deal, former 'gentlemen' working right along side dirt farmers trying to scrape together a life from burnt fields.

    Gentlemen attending to their higher educations in the past would, for instance, see a lovely woman, and would give a "hum" of acknowledgment -- like "Mmm, mm, mm" instead of voicing out loud, "Wow, what a dinger!"

    Very much like we still do today, that ol' "Mmmm, mm, mm" is well recognized and well understood.

    So, in more academic areas, trying to cover their rudeness, gentlemen would use the term "Hummer" instead of "Dinger"., as in "You boys should have seen the Hummer with the large...."

    Now in a position to do so, the dirt farmer could simply ASK the former gentlemen, what is a Hummer?

    Now we have "Hummer-Dinger" enter American English.

    Well into the strict Victorian Age, the fast approach of Turn of the Century, the late 1800s, and a very quickly changing pace of life -- and once again we are back at slicing and dicing the English language and shortening words.

    Enter ..... "Humdinger", 1900ish, Turn of the Century.

    Words origins are a really fun part of history and quite interesting, especially for lonely bathroom reading I highly recomend a large word origion encyclopedia , QPB Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins in Paperback is a 4 lbs monster that is brilliant and very cheap purchased used, as little as $5.00. It reads like a novel and very entertaining.

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  • 3 years ago

    Humdinger Meaning

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  • nunns
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    Humdinger Definition

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  • Gerry
    Lv 7
    9 years ago


    the word "humdinger" is American dating back to 1905. It's a noun that describes a person, thing, action, or statement of remarkable excellence or effect. However, all this said it was and still is used in reference to how a woman looks - in terms of her beauty and since I live in America in modern times this word is not used so much anymore except when a good looking woman is walking near wearing a mini skirt.

    Hope this helps,


    (I like Helmaron's answer btw)

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  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    This Site Might Help You.


    What is the origin of the word "humdinger"?

    Don't just Google it. I want to hear from people who can tell a tale not recite Wiki.

    Source(s): origin word quot humdinger quot:
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  • 4 years ago

    For the best answers, search on this site

    It's short for "by our Lady" which is swearing against the queen. It's like saying g-d damned.

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  • Withoug looking it up all I can tell you is that it is American. I think either 1940's or 50's.

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