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Senior Member

It'd be great if you could help me to find the meaning of this expression from Hammett's The Big Knockover. The story is set in the early 30ies, and the detective writes this about a young sleuth:

"So Jack came to the Agency. He thought gumshoeing would be fun. In spite of the fact that he'd rather catch the wrong man than wear the wrong necktie, he was a promising young thief-catcher. A likable youngster, well-muscled for all his slimness, smooth-haired, with a gentleman's face and a gentleman's manner, nervy, quick with head and hands, full of the don't-give-a-damn gaiety that belonged to his youthfulness. He was jingle-brained, of course, and needed holding, but I would rather work with him than with a lot of old-timers I knew."

I was unable to find the exact meaning of jingle-brained. Please someone explain it!

Thank you!
  • DocPenfro

    Senior Member
    English - British
    I suspect that Hammett made the word up, so you won't find it in a dictionary and it doesn't have an exact meaning; you can infer it from the rest of the description. Jack was young, lively, self-confident and impetuous, and possibly a danger to himself because of it.
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