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Bimbo is a derogatory slang term for an attractive but unintelligent female. The term was originally used in the United States as early as 1919 for an unintelligent or brutish male.
As of early 21st century, the "stereotypical bimbo" appearance has become that of an attractive woman, often blonde and with a curvaceous figure and large breasts, possibly wearing heavy makeup and revealing clothing. However, none of these traits are strictly needed for a person to be considered a bimbo. It is sometimes associated with men or women who dye their hair blonde indicating that physical attractiveness is more important to them than other, non-physical traits and as an extension to the "dumb blonde" stereotype.
The word bimbo derives itself from the Italian bimbo, a masculine-gender term that means "(male) baby" or "young (male) child" (the feminine form of the Italian word is bimba). Use of this term began in the United States as early as 1919, and was a slang word used to describe an unintelligent or brutish man.
It was not until the 1920s that the term bimbo first began to be associated with females. In 1920, composer Frank Crumit recorded "My Little Bimbo Down on the Bamboo Isle", in which the term "bimbo" is used to describe an island girl of questionable virtue. The 1929 silent film Desert Nights describes a wealthy female crook as a bimbo and in The Broadway Melody, an angry Bessie Love calls a chorus girl a bimbo. The first use of its female meaning cited in the Oxford English Dictionary is dated 1929, from the scholarly journal American Speech, where the definition was given simply as "a woman".
Bimbos in popular culture
- "Bimbo (song)" — in this case, "bimbo" refers to a little boy.
- In the 1990s, the Danish band Aqua used the word bimbo in their major hit "Barbie Girl," using the dumb blonde archetype as well ("I'm a blonde bimbo girl."). It was noted by Mattel in the legal conflict against Aqua and their record company for the representation of the popular Barbie doll.
- In 2012, Bridgit Mendler used the word bimbo in the song "Forgot to Laugh".
- A beauty contest game called Miss Bimbo is an online game in which players attempt to use virtual characters to win contests, earn IQ points and impress virtual boys, through makeovers, clothing, exercise, and the purchase of operations such as facelifts and breast implants. Although the game itself does not promote such activities in real life and is often viewed as a parody, it has received condemnation in the media from parent groups, especially in Europe.
- The term "'mimbo", to mean a male bimbo, was first coined in the episode "The Stall" of American sitcom Seinfeld. in the context of Elaine Benes's boyfriend, Tony (Dan Cortese).
After the first 2015 Republican Presidential Debate, Donald Trump re-tweeted a message calling debate moderator and Fox News host Megyn Kelly a "bimbo" via Twitter. This was after Megyn Kelly asked Donald Trump a question that referenced his television show The Apprentice[better source needed] from season 6 in 2005[better source needed]
- A bimbo is a woman who is not pretty enough to be a model, not smart enough to be an actress, and not nice enough to be a poisonous snake.--P.J.O'Rourke
- · 2004: Fey [...] makes hay with the thought processes of a purebred bimbo — The New Yorker, 10 May 2004.
(stupid or foolish person):
- She is the first doll to prove that you can be sexual and beautiful but not a bimbo.
- · 1960, P. G. Wodehouse, Jeeves in the Offing, chapter III:
And one had to remember that most of the bimbos to whom Roberta Wickham had been giving the bird through the years had been of the huntin', shootin' and fishin' type, fellows who had more or less shot their bolt after saying 'Eh, what?' and slapping their leg with a hunting crop.
- · 1960, P. G. Wodehouse, Jeeves in the Offing, chapter XIII:
Isn't he the bimbo who took the bread out of the mouths of the Thursday Review people? Chuck the blighter out of the window and we want to see him bounce.
- Ah Lian
- Valley girl and Essex girl carry similar connotations to a young bimbo or "bimbette", but are non-synonymous.
- Kogal or, more correctly, kogyaru and ganguro carry similar connotations as a Japanese version of a "valley girl" or bimbo.
- Barbie is the equivalent word for Bimbo in many Hispanic countries.
- Encyclopedia of Hair, pp. 149-151
- "Etymonline". Retrieved 1 November 2011.
- Oxford English Dictionary, 1919
- "Slang of 1920s". Retrieved 23 June 2010.
- "Aqua Now Faces Lawsuit Over "Barbie Girl"". MTV News. 12 September 1997. Archived from the original on 24 February 2009. Retrieved 23 June 2010.
- "Parents upset over online Miss Bimbo game for children". Taipei Times. 30 March 2008. Retrieved 1 April 2008.
- The Apprentice (U.S. TV series)
- The Apprentice (U.S. season 6)
- Bogart, Anne (14 March 1990). "A Doll for the 90's: Beautiful but No Bimbo". The New York Times. The New York Times. Retrieved 22 October 2015.