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noun [uncountable]

decorating the exterior of a house with a large amount of Christmas lights


noun [countable]


noun [countable/uncountable]

'Greetings houseblingers and their admirers! The new houseblinging season is now upon us and we know that many of you have already been preparing furiously for this winter's display …'

houseblinger.com 29th November 2005

'Some streets with a lot of houseblings can attract many visitors, causing traffic jams and annoyance to neighbours.'

houseblinger.com 29th November 2005

As we drive down a quiet residential street in early December, we're suddenly confronted with a dazzling display. What was yesterday a modest, respectable semi-detached house, has in a matter of hours turned into an explosion of electrical activity, a giant, flashing Christmas shrine, adorned with Santa, snowman and multitudes of reindeers. Whether you love these light extravaganzas or hate them, there's now a term to describe this seasonal pastime: houseblinging.

houseblinging is becoming increasingly popular on both sides of the Atlantic, so much so that a dedicated website … was launched

Houseblinging is becoming increasingly popular on both sides of the Atlantic, so much so that a dedicated website houseblinger.com was launched in December 2004 (with a more recent American counterpart usa.houseblinger.com). The site is of course aimed at people who engage in houseblinging and admirers of their work. It promotes the term houseblinger to refer to those who decorate the exteriors of their homes (sometimes shortened to blingers), and a noun housebling, which is used both uncountably and countably to refer to the decoration itself or an instance of it. The site gives guidance to houseblingers, promoting energy-saving measures and use of the displays for fundraising, and enables them to share tips and experiences. Spotters are given the opportunity to submit photos of recently identified houseblings which form a geographically organized gallery.

Background – houseblinging

The expression houseblinging made its first appearance in December 2004. Its original use is attributable to Peter Bridge of Aston, Hertfordshire, who, in a letter to The Daily Telegraph on the 9th December 2004, suggested the word housebling to describe houses extravagantly decorated with Christmas lights.

The bling element of the word relates to the term bling bling, an expression referring to large pieces of expensive, eye-catching jewellery, thought to have originated from the Jamaican slang for the imaginary 'sound' produced in animated cartoons when light reflects off a diamond. Often abbreviated to simply bling, the term originated in hip-hop slang but quickly came into widespread use, so much so that in 2002 it entered the fifth edition of the Shorter Oxford Dictionary. Current usage of the word bling not only relates to expensive jewellery but an entire lifestyle centred around excess spending. Houseblinging is a more recent addition to a range of derivatives, including an adjective blingy, a noun blinger and even a phrasal verb bling it up.

by Kerry Maxwell, author of Brave New Words

This article was first published on 12th December 2005.

Open Dictionary

Dunning-Kruger effect

the phenomenon by which an incompetent person is too incompetent to understand his own incompetence

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