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The meaning and origin of the expression: Bling-bling

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Bling-bling

Meaning

Ostentatious, over-the-top jewellery or dress. Often used to demonstrate the wearer's wealth.

Origin

This term came to prominence right at the end of the 20th century, when 'bling' became a central feature of the Gansta rap hip hop scene in the USA. It was also in use in Jamaica about the same time and it isn't clear where the term was coined. The first use of it in print is in the lyrics of 'Bling Bling', which was recorded in 1999 by the rap artist B.G. (a.k.a. 'Baby Gangsta', a.k.a. Christopher Dorsey), on the album Chopper City In The Ghetto:

bling bling...
Big ballin' Calhounie's, you can see him when he comin'
Booted up, diamond up
Golds be shinin' up, all them diamonds be blindin' up
...

Chorus:

Bling bling
Everytime I come around yo' city
Bling bling
Pinky ring worth about 50
Bling bling
Everytime I buy a new ride
Bling bling
Lorenzos on Yokahama tires

bling-blingThe use of bling-bling in Jamaica is recorded in the Kingston newspaper The Gleaner, 18th December 1999. This was in a picture story about the Christmas decorations on a house on Portmore Parkway. Spelled out in coloured lights was:

"It's a Bling-Bling Christmas to the Y2K."

See other reduplicated phrases.