AskDefine | Define dingbat

Dictionary Definition

dingbat n : a silly empty-headed person; "you would be a dingbat even to try it"; "yet here he was with an upper class dingbat who just happened to be married to his sister"

User Contributed Dictionary



(US) IPA: /ˈdɪŋˌbæt/


  1. A silly 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."
  2. 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. An architectural style of apartment building, where the second storey overhangs an area for parking cars.

See also

Extensive Definition

A dingbat is an ornament or spacer used in typesetting, sometimes more formally known as a "printer's ornament". The term supposedly originated as onomatopoeia in old style metal-type print shops, where extra space around text or illustrations would be filled by "ding"ing an ornament into the space then "bat"ing tight to be ready for inking .
The term continued to be used in the computer industry to describe fonts that had symbols and shapes in the positions designated for alphabetical or numeric characters.
An example (something like ITC Zapf dingbats series 100):
Some web browsers may not render the above correctly, showing instead boxes or question marks.
The advent of Unicode and the universal character set it provides allowed commonly-used dingbats to be given their own character codes, from 2700 to 27BF. Although fonts claiming Unicode coverage will contain glyphs for dingbats in addition to alphabetic characters, fonts that have dingbats in place of alphabetic characters continue to be popular, primarily for ease of input.

Unicode dingbats


For more examples of dingbat typefaces, see Wingdings and Webdings. Another famous dingbat typeface, Zapf Dingbats, was designed by the typographer Hermann Zapf.
dingbat in German: Dingbats
dingbat in French: Dingbat
dingbat in Serbian: Дингбат
dingbat in Swedish: Dingbat
dingbat in Chinese: Dingbat
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