Definition of ding-dong in US English:



North American
  • A silly or foolish person.

    • ‘After all, who else deserves public recognition for dealing with those ding-alings, dingbats, and ding-dongs who dial you for answers to really dumb questions.’
    idiot, ass, halfwit, nincompoop, blockhead, buffoon, dunce, dolt, ignoramus, cretin, imbecile, dullard, moron, simpleton, clod
    View synonyms

adverb & adjective

  • 1With the simple alternate chimes of or as of a bell.

    as adverb ‘the church bells go ding-dong’
    as adjective ‘he heard the ding-dong tones’
  • 2British informal as adjective (of a contest) evenly matched and intensely waged.

    ‘the game was an exciting ding-dong battle’
    • ‘Three hundred and ten riders, representing 31 nations, are entered across the three disciplines, with cross country arguably offering spectators the best prospect of a ding-dong battle among the leaders.’
    • ‘The pair have a ding-dong battle to the line and Persian Punch, winner in 2001, gets up by a nostril.’
    • ‘An incredible ding-dong match - the lead changed hands seven times - played out in front of full, noisy stands showed that rugby league was back in York with a bang louder than the fireworks that greeted the players.’
    • ‘Indeed, the advantage had swung one way and then the other and the lead had changed hands four times between two well matched sides during the ding-dong battle.’
    • ‘Many members of both sides had played the week before and this one had all the makings of a ding-dong tussle.’
    • ‘It was shaping up like a ding-dong derby game when the flaw of Rangers game hit them in the face.’
    • ‘But it came only after a ding-dong struggle that was finally settled at the 40th hole, equalling the longest match in the championship's history.’
    • ‘I've had some ding-dong battles with Mike, and Saturday should be no different.’
    • ‘Mind you for fifty-five minutes of this ding-dong battle it looked to be ‘touch and go’ but hats off to the lads for what they produced in the final fifteen minutes.’
    • ‘It was a ding-dong encounter with Claremorris coming through on a 4-5 to 3-5 scoreline.’
    • ‘He said: ‘It was a ding-dong battle and a game that had just about everything - everything that is good and everything that is bad.’’
    • ‘If it's any consolation, it's been another ding-dong midweek derby - but it's the first time I can remember we've been on the wrong end of one.’
    • ‘In the first-half, it was hardly a see-saw, ding-dong cup battle - City's excellently organised defence and master-plan saw to that - but it was intriguing all the same.’
    • ‘The first half was a ding-dong affair with both sides trying to tease out an opening and Villa were eventually rewarded on the stroke of half-time.’
    • ‘The meeting provided a ding-dong battle in a tense atmosphere: the Americans had pledged to regain the cup after it had remained in European hands for six years.’
    • ‘As consumers, we may well benefit from the ding-dong battles that ensue.’
    • ‘Meanwhile the drivers kept on staring but remained remarkably patient in the downpour and the ding-dong battle of wills in the middle of the bridge that was preventing progress of traffic in either direction.’
    • ‘The final score after a ding-dong encounter was 2-13 to 3-9 with St. Gerard's shading the verdict by a single point.’
    • ‘Still it was a ding-dong struggle all the way and at one stage in the final half it seemed Culleens might snatch victory.’
    • ‘The final was a real ding-dong affair with the action going to the wire, and Gorgeous George delivering the final blow.’


Mid 16th century: imitative.