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Posted by Bookworm on May 29, 2003

In Reply to: Humdinger posted by J. Boehmke on May 29, 2003

: What is the origin of "humdinger" which is used to imply a "big deal" or some sort of extravagance?

According to Merriam-Webster Online:

Main Entry: hum·ding·er
Pronunciation: 'h&m-'di[ng]-&r
Function: noun
Etymology: probably alteration of hummer
Date: circa 1904
: a striking or extraordinary person or thing

The definition for hummer is just "one that hums", but I am not sure what that has to do with it. The American Heritage Dictionary lists the etymology as "unknown".