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Some tool, gadget, or other such implement the proper name for which is unknown or unremembered. A: "What is that thingamabob over there?" B: "That's a power coupler. Don't touch it." It looks like the signal is controlled by this joystick-looking thingamabob.
Any thing the name of which is not known or cannot be remembered. Hand me that whatchamacallit over there. He said the machine will generate… whatchamacallit… electrostatic potential energy, something like that.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
n. a name for a person or thing whose real name has been forgotten or is being avoided. I lost my—you know—my whatchamacallit—my watch!
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
Something whose name is not known or has been forgotten. A slangy alteration of “what you may call it,” it dates from the first quarter of the twentieth century. For example, “He’s got that new gadget on his car, a whatchamacallit—oh, a GPS.” Similar if not quite synonymous terms are doohickey and thingamabob, dating from about the same time. For example, “The Digital Book System . . . a doohickey slightly bigger than a cassette box—that stores the equivalent of 10 Bibles” (Newsweek, December 7, 1992).
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer