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Bling is a word that has been in use for about thirty years, though some may find it confusing. We will examine the definition of the word bling, where it came from, and some examples of its use in sentences.

Bling means flashy or ostentatious jewelry, clothing or accessories that sparkle and glitter denoting wealth and an affinity for material possessions. Bling carries the connotation of being over the top. Things that may be construed as bling are cufflinks, earrings such as drop earrings and studs, necklaces with or without a pendant or diamond pendant, chains, watches, rings, bracelets such as cuffs or bangles, pins, a choker or other jewelry. Bling may extend to accessories such as sunglasses, handbags, cellphones, scarves, capped teeth, canes or wallets, or clothing such as sweaters, hats, tees, or jackets. Bling is achieved by wearing something sparkling because it is sterling silver, platinum or gold, or  is a precious jewel such as a diamond, emerald, ruby or sapphire, or a semiprecious gemstone such as amethyst, garnet, topaz or aquamarine. Bling is intended to be a symbol of one’s status and wealth, though faux items such as gold tone jewelry, rhinestone or cubic zirconia may be passed off as bling. The word bling comes from hip hop culture, and the oldest known use of the word bling was by Dana Dane in 1987. It is an onomatopoeia, which is a word that is formed by imitating the sound of the thing or action being described. Such words are often used by children while playing, and onomatopoeia are commonly found in comic books. Bling is an imitation of the “ping” sound commonly used in animated cartoons to indicate a glint bouncing off a shiny object such as a diamond, gold jewelry, or even a particularly clean tooth. This sound effect is also seen in commercials and humorous television shows and films. Bling is used as an adjective and a noun. The term may also be rendered as bling-bling, but it is currently most often shortened to bling. The word bling was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2002, and the Merriam Webster Dictionary in 2006.


Ski instructors, guides and beanie-clad locals drink alongside guests (no fur or bling in sight), and it’s easy to strike up conversations. (The Guardian)

Shiny, sparkling pieces of bling in home decor are gathering fans who attempt to capture something magical and unusual by incorporating this latest trend. (The Las Vegas Review-Journal)

Bling Glamour, a fashion chain that sprang from the prairie of western Kansas nine years ago, has opened in Kearney’s Hilltop Mall. (The Kearney Hub)

All of the bling and broad humor make “Aladdin” ideal for children and a great introduction to the theater.  (The Courier Journal)

Opting for some major bling affect, she can bee seen sporting a couple of diamond rings, bracelets, and a pair of eye-catching earrings.  (The Daily Mail)