A dinghy ding-a-ling

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Senior Member
American English
Tonight I had an interesting experience. Talking about yachts, I mentioned: “I’m more of a dinghy sort of a person”. To my amazement, no one understood what I meant by that. They thought that a “dinghy” is a stupid person (i.e. a ding-a-ling). Am I really that much out of touch with the living language?
  • maxiogee

    No, they are obviously of limited vocabulary.
    I used to regularly misspell the word dingy as dinghy - but I knew what both meant :)

    What is it with the sailing fraternity and the letter 'h'?
    Yacht and dinghy, wherry and ketch, and let's not forget the wonderful Hooker from Galway! :D


    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Just in case there is a pronunciation issue involved, there are three (at least) words that look rather similar.

    Dingy: with a soft g, meaning grubby,dirty, drab, dull.

    Ding-y: pronounced as ding with a y added. A nonce-word referring to something that has some characteristics of a ding (in any sense of ding).

    Dinghy: with a hard g sound, originally a small rowing boat and more recently a small sailing boat - somewhat more substantial than a windsurfer, but only by comparison.


    Senior Member
    American English
    LOL, I’ll probably be more than a bit dingy in my dinghy given enough time :)
    Also while a ketch is within the limits of my vocabulary, a wherry has easily sailed out of it.


    Senior Member
    Dinghy is definitely still used. From thefreedictionary.com:
    1. A small open boat carried as a tender, lifeboat, or pleasure craft on a larger boat
    2. a small rowboat
    3. an inflatable rubber life raft
    I just used the word the day before yesterday. ;)
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