Restaurant logo with a dingus

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Klaus Nuber writes: "Sometime ago I saw the sign of this 'Asia Palast' with the logo consisting of the two chairs and the round dingus between. Is this logo just cute or has it a hanzi background?"

The design is indeed based on a Sinograph, and it is actually the second one in the row of five characters below it, namely, dǐng 鼎, which means "tripod".

The whole line reads:

Jīndǐngxuān jiǔlóu 金鼎轩酒楼
("Gold Tripod Pavilion Restaurant")

Here is the website of this restaurant in Mindelheim, Germany, and here is its imprint with the names of the owners.

The dǐng 鼎 ("tripod") is a suitable symbol for a restaurant, since, in its earliest phases (ceramic, then bronze), it was used as a food vessel, but later acquired ritual status as emblematic of power and authority.


  1. Colin McLarty said,

    May 29, 2019 @ 5:46 pm

    The Ditan location in Beijing is very fun and architecturally dramatic, open 24 hours, and often has a long line outside.

  2. cameron said,

    May 29, 2019 @ 6:02 pm

    Are we supposed to believe that your correspondent innocently and coinicidentally used the somewhat uncommon word "dingus" while asking about a character that happens to be pronounced ding?

  3. Stephen Hart said,

    May 29, 2019 @ 6:30 pm

    "somewhat uncommon word "dingus""

    A Google ngram graph is interesting, showing a peak in the 30s. I remember hearing it as a child in the 50s.

  4. Michèle Sharik Pituley said,

    May 29, 2019 @ 7:05 pm

    Re “Dingus”: It’s even funnier because (I believe) Klaus is German. “Ding” means “thing” in German, so “dingus” means essentially “thingy”.

  5. Victor Mair said,

    May 29, 2019 @ 9:23 pm

    @Michèle Sharik Pituley

    I like your word "thingy". As a matter of fact, I use it in my Literary Sinitic class to refer to the nominalizing particle zhě 者, because it can turn any word, phrase, or clause into a "thing".

    I should also note that, like cameron and Stephen Hart, I too remember when I first heard the word "dingus" as a young man, it sounded humorous, but I instinctively knew what it meant. I thought it was particularly funny in this case, since dǐng 鼎 ("tripod") — minus the third tone — forms the first syllable of "dingus", so I chucklingly featured it in the title.

  6. Andrew Usher said,

    May 29, 2019 @ 11:04 pm

    'Dingus' means 'thingy' in English, too, as far as I know (is it really of German origin?), and '-us' is not a diminutive ending in either language. Neither is a word I would use; as I have no need to strive for elegance when naming something I can't name, I just use 'thing'.

    I can't resist commenting of German pronunciation whenever coming across it: 'Asiapalast' would presumably be /azjapa'last/ with four identical vowels; _very_ awkward for an English-speaker to say for containing no unusual phonemes or clusters.

    k_over_hbarc at yahoo dot com

  7. Philip Spaelti said,

    May 29, 2019 @ 11:18 pm

    Re "Dingus". My assumption would be that the "-us" ending is a form of "pseudo-Latin", typical of student language of a bygone era. Essentially this makes form sound "scientific" for comic effect.

  8. Chas Belov said,

    May 30, 2019 @ 1:05 am

    I haven't used or heard it in years, but I know it both as slang for "thing" and for "penis."

  9. Ken said,

    May 30, 2019 @ 2:56 am

    @Andrew Usher: Something you can't name is a watchamacallit, except if it's mechanical it's a doohickey. Or are you using "thing" as shortened form of thingumabob or thingamajig?

  10. Bob Ladd said,

    May 30, 2019 @ 2:57 am

    It's not just that Ding means 'thing' in German, but Dings means 'thingy' or 'gadget' or 'doohickey' or other similar words. The excellent Beolingus corpus-based online German-English dictionary ( lists, among other English translations, dingus. I don't think I've ever encountered dingus, but I certainly knew what it meant, and I suspected that Klaus had been trying to express Dings.

    The coincidence with the word for tripod is certainly a bonus.

  11. Ursa Major said,

    May 30, 2019 @ 4:47 am

    The OED, Wiktionary and Etymonline all give an etymology from Dutch "ding". Most sources also highlight "dingus" as a North American word, which is also my sense of it. It's not a word I would ever use and I mainly know of it in the sense of 'fool', complete with the connotations that Urban Dictionary notes with "a dingus is NOT a stupid person, because a dingus is someone who can make you laugh by doing stupid THINGS, but they are not stupid people".

  12. Andrew Usher said,

    May 30, 2019 @ 7:48 am

    I do not know 'dingus' meaning 'fool'; would suspect influence of 'doofus' or similar words. I suppose the word's claimed origin from Dutch isn't surprising – where else would it get that form?

    No, I really don't use any of those substitutes for 'thing', though I've heard plenty (including 'guy', which is really weird). I rarely have to refer to something _completely_ unknown, where no more specific word could be used, but when I do, I say 'thing' or 'stuff' as appropriate. Of course they can be preceded by various intensifiers …

  13. IMarvinTPA said,

    May 30, 2019 @ 8:06 am

    I thought I heard Bugs Bunny call Elmer Fudd a Dingus at some point in one of the many cartoon shorts. So it is a synonym insult for idiot based on that usage to me.

  14. Rube said,

    May 30, 2019 @ 8:17 am

    For me, "dingus" pretty much always means "penis", as in this bit from "The Hateful 8":

    "And Charles Chester Smithers sucked on that warm black dingus for as loong as he could."

  15. Scott P. said,

    May 30, 2019 @ 12:25 pm

    I've known 'ding-a-ling' to mean 'penis', as well as 'dong,' but never 'dingus.'

  16. Not a naive speaker said,

    May 30, 2019 @ 12:38 pm


    the dingus was used coinicidentally

    @Stephen Hart

    I read the word dingus in a Hammett novel (Red Harvest), had to look it up and remembered it ever since

    @Andrew Usher

    As some of the commenters I too was surprised the name of this object is dǐng

    Might somebody explain in the help section of Language Log which markup language is used for the posts

  17. Vance Koven said,

    May 30, 2019 @ 3:37 pm

    Does nobody else remember Humphrey Bogart referring to the Maltese Falcon (in the eponymous film) as "the dingus"?

  18. Bob Ladd said,

    May 30, 2019 @ 4:52 pm

    I got curious about VHM's use of the word imprint in the O.P., so I followed the link he provided and found the Impressum, which is a legally prescribed statement of ownership, etc., required on German websites. As I thought about it, Imprint struck me as an odd translation – except insofar as it more or less corresponds etymologically – and a little googling led me to the Language Boutique (, which has lots of posts about (mostly) practical language issues. Their page on Impressum says it's hard to translate into English precisely because there's no comparable legal requirement in Anglophone countries, and suggests using any of the following terms:

    Company Details oder Company Information
    Legal Disclosure oder Legal Disclosures
    Legal Notice
    Legal Notifications

    But when i first read the O.P. I just read right past imprint without seeing anything amiss.

  19. Chris Button said,

    May 30, 2019 @ 10:03 pm

    What a great post! I think it's implicit from earlier comments, but I might add that "dingus" and "thing" are of course etymologically related words.

  20. Andrew Usher said,

    May 31, 2019 @ 8:02 am

    But if Klaus really believes 'dingus' to be the best rendering of German 'Dings', he is mistaken. As we all should know here etymology is not meaning.

  21. BobW said,

    May 31, 2019 @ 10:46 am

    And then there's the 1970 movie "Dirty Dingus McGee" with Frank Sinatra.

  22. Not a naive speaker said,

    May 31, 2019 @ 4:40 pm

    @Andrew Usher

    On this occasion I didn't think in German. I looked for the appropriate word: thingy, wheel shaped object, window shaped object, gridiron (St Lawrence), several of the watchmacallit types and finally settled for dingus.

    Wentworth / Flexner Dictionary of American Slang lists as Omnibus terms about 70 entries. One third of them could be used for this purpose.

  23. Andrew Usher said,

    May 31, 2019 @ 7:01 pm

    OK, it wasn't actually my suggestion that you did. Nonetheless you can see from this thread that 'dingus' might have been a distracting choice.

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