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bimbo

1. A silly, empty-headed or frivolous woman. This is the sense of the word in vogue since the late 1980s, imported to Britain and Australia from the USA. The origin is almost certainly a variant of bambino, Italian for baby. In the early 1900s a bimbo, in American colloquial use, was a man, especially a big, unintelligent and aggressive man or a clumsy dupe. By the 1950s the word was used as a nickname for boys in England, perhaps inspired by a popular song of the time. By the 1920s bimbo was being applied to women, especially by popular crime-fiction writers, and it is this use that was revived in the 1980s with the return to fashion of glamorous but not over-cerebral celebrities. In the late 1980s the word was again applied occa- sionally to males, although with less brutish and more frivolous overtones than earlier usage.

'Daryl Hannah plays an interior designer and Gekko's part-time mistress who turns her attention to Bud Fox's apartment and bed. She's meant to be a rich man's bimbo.' (Oliver Stone, US film director, Sunday Times magazine, February 1988)

2. British the bottom, backside. A nursery and schoolchildren's word of the 1950s, now rarely heard.

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