What is Thingie in Your Language?


Over the weekend I stopped to pick up food for the holiday picnic. Standing in line with a bag and balancing several full soft drink cups I said to the server, “I need a thingie.” Without a moment’s hesitation he handed me a molded cardboard drink holder.
On my way to the car (without spilling anything) I thought about how I’d asked. I could have said, “Please, sir, can you provide me with something to corral these cups lest they tip over on my way home?” But he understood what I meant.
Obviously the context helped. I had the cups in my hands. What really made me smile was my use of thingie. I’ve heard that used to signify a small part that the speaker can’t properly identify; to point out a malfunctioning something; even to reference an unspecified tool (“I think I have a thingie in here to fix that.”)
Each of those speakers could certainly have put together a fluent sentence that exactly specified the reference. is, however, a fun, informal, shortcut.
I’m sure your native language has a word or phrase like this. Would you share it ?
Patricia May


About tembua

Tembua: The Precision Language Solution provides comprehensive linguistic services for 100 languages to private industry and government agencies on a global scale. Services include document and website translation and localization; conference and 24/7 telephonic interpretation; glossary development; proofreading, text adaptation, editing, multilingual design and DTP; transcription; technical / custom authoring editing, foreign search engine optimization; translation memory management; subtitling.
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