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I heard "thingy/thingie" very often to refer to "a something". However, I observe it written either way and I don't know what is the correct form.

Dictionary.com redirects "thingie" to "thingy", where the article says:

thingy

[thing-ee]

noun, plural thingies.

  1. Facetious. any small item whose name is unknown or forgotten.

adjective

  1. of, relating to, or characteristic of inanimate objects.

Then, the Urban Dictionary mentions both: thingy and thingie

thingie

n. a non-specific term for anything

thingy

Used to describe an object on the spur of the moment when you have a sudden brain fritz and forget exactly what you were gonna say was.

And Wordreference does not find any of them.

What is, then, the proper way to write it?

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  • thanks for the downvote, could you indicate a reason so I can learn from it?
    – fedorqui
    Jul 31, 2015 at 14:41
  • Actually, the correct spelling is "thingque" (the "q" is silent). From Old Norse "tinjie" meaning "dodad".
    – Hot Licks
    Jul 31, 2015 at 16:36
  • 2
    @HotLicks But is it "dodad", "doodad", or "doghdad"?
    – VampDuc
    Jul 31, 2015 at 16:46
  • 1
    Thingy or Thingie, It is Scottish, and in some of the example sentences in the OED, few other words are recognizable. "1947 Forfar Dispatch 9 Jan. Inahent the coonter she's no' near sic a nochtie, shilpit, wee thingie"
    – ab2
    Dec 18, 2016 at 21:23
  • @ab2 I'll go out ona limb and translate that as 'in behind the counter she's not nearly such a naughty, miserable, wee thing.' I guess describing that someone knows how to behave properly when at her work behind a counter.
    – Spagirl
    Jan 17, 2017 at 15:45

1 Answer 1

2

Both forms are correct; thingy appears to be the more common form as shown below.

-ie (suffix):

  • alternative spelling of -y; now mostly of -y (3), but formerly of others. (Etymonline)

Ngram thingy vs thingie

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  • 1
    With words like thingy, you just do your own thing...ee.
    – Margana
    Jul 31, 2015 at 15:01
  • Thanks! So this seems to be a case in which both are accepted but one gets promoted over time. In this case, specially from the late 80s. I find the "Ngram" thingy (:D) a funny way to track these changes, since they get so much credit now that they end up being part of the future canonical knowledge (kind of relativity theory in words?).
    – fedorqui
    Jul 31, 2015 at 15:10
  • @fedorqui thingy is not a strongly accepted word. Lots of people would object to its use as slang or overly informal. So go with the n-gram and use thingy over thingie as it's way more popular, and furthermore more English words end in -y than -ie. Jul 31, 2015 at 17:07
  • In Google's 'British English' corpus (ngrams) it appears that 'thingy' is by far the more common choice nowadays. Feb 9, 2023 at 12:23

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