"tinkling or clinging sound," such as made by small bells, 1590s, from jingle (v.). Meaning "something that jingles" is from 1610s, especially "metallic disc on a tambourine." Meaning "song in an advertisement" first attested 1930, from earlier sense of "catchy array of words in prose or verse" (1640s).
"emit tinkling metallic sounds," late 14c., gingeln, of imitative origin; compare tinkle (v.), Dutch jengelen, German klingeln (from Old High German klingilon (8c.), a frequentative of klingen). "There does not appear any original association with jangle" [OED]. Transitive sense "cause to emit a jingling sound" is from c. 1500. Related: Jingled; jingling. Massinger has jingle-boy "a coin" (c. 1600). Jingle-bell is attested from 1871. Jingle-brains (1700) was slang for "a wild, thoughtless, rattling fellow" [Grose].
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