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dingy (adj.)

1736, in Kentish dialect, "dirty, foul," a word of uncertain origin, but perhaps related to dung. Meaning "soiled, tarnished, having a dull, brownish color" (from grime or weathering) is by 1751; hence "shabby, shady, drab" (by 1855). The noun dinge "dinginess" (1816) is a back-formation; as a derogatory word for "black person, Negro," by 1848. Related: Dingily; dinginess.

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