My daughter always calls things she does not know how are they called as thingy. She could say just that thing but she wants to express that she doesn't know how are they called and sometimes she just wants to make it sound funny.

Is this expression used in English and are there any other words for calling things we don't know how are they called while expressing that we don't know how are they called to the listeners?


3 Answers 3


Yes, "thingy" is widely used in English- to talk about things you don't know the name of, have forgotten, or don't want to mention- for example genitals.

Yes, there are lots of similar words- some of them widely known, some regional, and others made up on the spur of the moment, as your daughter probably did.


I would second Maulik with 'something', and one more noun meaning 'something' is - stuff.

I've just came across an article on Vague expressions, which is pretty well-structured and rather interesting.

  • 3
    I don't think either something or stuff would normally work in the contexts OP seems to be asking about. Say you're at the dinner table, can't reach the condiment set, and don't know/can't recall the word cruet. You'd never say Pass me the something - only ...the thingy. If you said Pass me the stuff that wouldn't really match OP's context, because that's a "collective" noun usage (for which my vernacular term would be Pass me the gubbins). Commented Mar 22, 2016 at 16:10

It seems that "thingy" is a thing.

There is actually a long list on Wikipedia. Also, it redirects to different pages talking about placeholder names and terms. Depending on what you forgot, you need a different word. For example, if you forgot the name of somebody see this page.

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