Gizmo Poll


 Noun: doohickey ‘doo’hi-kee

Something unspecified whose name is either forgotten or not known

“She eased the ball-shaped doohickey back into its socket”


See: – doodad [N. Amer], doohickey [N. Amer], dojigger [N. Amer], gimmick, gizmo, gismo, gubbins [Brit], thingumabob, thingmabob, thingamajig, thingumajig, thingmajig, thingummy, whatchamacallit, whatchamacallum, whatsis, widget, doodah [Brit], doobry [Brit], doobrie [Brit], thingy, thingo [Austral], dingus [N. Amer], doover [Austral], doofer [Brit], whatsit



Noun: gizmo giz-mow


  • 1. Something unspecified whose name is either forgotten or not known

“There may be some great new gizmo around the corner that you will want to use”


  • 2. A device or control that is very useful for a particular job

See: contraption, contrivance gadget, gismo, and widget



Since I am a control freak, and am in my own way technically competent, I rarely use these types of terms for describing equipment or appliances.  However, my customers and co-workers are sometimes saddled with bouts of technical nomenclature vapor lock.  I tried to look up the meaning of each of these words only to find that they simply refer to each other rather than a true definition.  To me this seems shoddy and half asses. 

I guess it would be impossible to try to asign indivisual technologies to these descriptive words.  This would be like trying to assign values to words like some, few, loads, a bunch, and a crap load. These only seem to have meaning in relationship to each other.  It is generally assumed that ‘loads’ is more than a ‘few’.  However, how many ‘fews’ would fit into a ‘load’ is left to our imagination. 


So this got me to thinking, what is the technological difference between a doohickey, and a thingamajig?  Does a gizmo represent a technology that is more difficult to master than a widget?  How does one fit these into any meaningful category?  Why would one consider this to be of any importance? 


Because I am a control freak, that’s why.


So I figured this would be a good time for some data.



Let’s see what is more popular then I will try to figure out exactly what level of technical dificulty can be asigned to which descriptive word.  Maybe I can discover the answer to the question:  is a Dohickey really more difficult to master than a thingamijig?



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3 thoughts on “Gizmo Poll

  1. Layman Pong says:

    I call it a “uhhhh, fuck — brain cramp — [pause] wtf is that called again”….

  2. S. Le says:

    It could be a regional thingy. Not sure. Also age could play into what you may call that gizmo.

  3. Burrowowl says:

    I’m not very consistent with what I call my forgotten-named tools. Sometimes I say “thingamabob,” other times a “doohickey,” other times it’s a “hydrospanner,” but mostly I just try to describe it in a way that makes it clear I don’t remember the proper name: “you know, the crimpy thing with the blue handle.”

    Gizmo isn’t something I use to describe something the name of which I forgot; it’s a term to describe something that the other party doesn’t know the function of: “You know, the gizmo that puts the plastic thing on the end of the phone cord.”

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