Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A mechanical device or part whose name is forgotten or unknown; a gadget.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A nonsensical placeholder name for something that one does not know the proper term for; gadget; whatchamacallit; thingamajig.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun something unspecified whose name is either forgotten or not known
  • noun a device or control that is very useful for a particular job

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Origin unknown.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Unknown

Examples

Comments

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  • 1966 Popular Science Monthly refers to a gadget as a Gizmo http://goo.gl/26CJ7 (google Books)

    1949 Popular Mechanics has ads from Gizmo Tool Company. http://goo.gl/g0yr0 (google books)

    http://goo.gl/jUlht 1946 Billboard mentions Gizmo, and that it is in NBC's technical dictionary 'Television Talk'. Television Talk is a 1946 book as well. http://goo.gl/daLBE

    1945 Life Magazine attributes Gizmo to Marine and Navy slang. http://goo.gl/nE3YL

    1942 Leatherneck magazine http://goo.gl/t20mc documented use of Marine slang.

    1940 Successful servicing - an electronics repair guide refers to an electronic component as a gizmo http://goo.gl/IcMb7 "It's a new gizmo..."

    This word seems to have come from electronic techies c. 1940.

    January 2, 2013