Why is dingbat used to refer to characters such as "☺"?
(See for instance those at the Mozilla Web Developer FAQ.)
Doesn't dingbat mean a stupid person or something?
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Dingbat is a typographical device other than a letter or numeral (such as an asterisk), used to signal divisions in text or to replace letters in a euphemistically presented vulgar word.
ORIGIN mid 19th cent. (in early use applied to various vaguely specified objects): origin uncertain; perhaps based on obsolete ding [to beat, deal heavy blows.]
I also think that the correlation with its other sense (a stupid or eccentric person) is rather apparent.