Where’s My Thingamajig?

Here’s an extract of the kind of conversation you’ll often hear in our house these days:

Me: “Hello sweetheart, what did you do at school today?”

Older daughter: “Stuff. We did a thingamajig before lunch and then maths and choir.”

Husband: “Darling, have you seen my thingamajig? I’ve lost it somewhere.”

Me: “You’ve lost what?”

Husband: “My thingamajig, have you seen it?”

Me (screaming out loud in frustration): “What the hell is a thingamajig?”

Older daughter: “You know, a thingamabob.”

Husband: “Can you help me find it please, I’ve got a meeting on Skype in five minutes.”

Me: “I would if I knew what it is you’re looking for. For goodness sake tell me what it is you’ve lost instead of going on about a ‘thingamajig’.”

Husband: “My phone, of course, didn’t I say so?”

When we sit down for dinner that evening, I ask: “Where does this ‘thingamajig’ word come from anyway? I mean, obviously, it’s not a real word.”

Older daughter: “It IS a real word. Check the dictionary.”

Which I do, much to my family’s amusement.

Thingamajig:

(noun) Something that is hard to classify or whose name is unknown or forgotten (Merriam-Webster.com)

(noun) Used to refer to or address a person or thing whose name one has forgotten, does not know, or does not wish to mention (Oxforddictionaries.com)

Older daughter: “See, it’s such a useful word because it can mean anything you want.”

My husband nods approvingly and winks at me as if to say, “there’s no point arguing with a pre-teen.”

“Ok, it’s in the dictionary, but that doesn’t mean it’s a proper word,” I say, but only the younger daughter shows any sympathy with my position. Then again, she loves being precise with words, especially when talking about birds and bees and like me, she’s never been one to use euphemisms. Why call something one’s ‘private parts’ when there’s a perfectly precise word for it?

Yet, this morning, as I very reluctantly leave the comfort of my bed to check that my daughters are getting ready for school, I hear myself saying to the older one:

“Bring me the thingamajig so I can do your hair.”

She returns with a hairbrush in her hand and smiles triumphantly,

“I told you it was a great word.”

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