What is a dobber, plodger, diggler?

Tag cloud of words for the TV remote

I realised when I got married some years ago that there are many things one’s family does which are unique. Funny Christmas traditions, made up words etc. One area which I have noticed in particular is in the names people give to the humble TV remote control. It is a bit of a mystery why people don’t just call it the ‘remote’ or the ‘TV remote’ – the vast majority of people don’t call it that.

Perhaps it is a bit like a pet – it’s almost part of the family in some cases. Different names for the TV remote perhaps give a glimpse into how words are born.

I put out a request on Twitter, Facebook and in my office for people’s names for the TV remote. Here is a list, very roughly in order of the most commonly used:

  • Hoofer doofer
  • Doofer
  • Zapper
  • The Buttons
  • The thing
  • Dobber
  • Dibber
  • Diggler
  • Donker
  • The box
  • Control box
  • Telebox
  • Telewhatsit
  • Wajamacallit
  • Zappy thing
  • Turner-over-er
  • Power Stick
  • Doobury
  • Beeper
  • Magic buttons
  • Plodger
  • Clicker
  • Dit-dit
  • Amote
  • The Power
  • Buggery
  • Clicky box

It’s such a funny list. Surprising how many begin with ‘D’, I wonder why that is?

Has anyone ever researched the etymology of these words?

If yours doesn’t appear here, please add it in the comments below, I’d love to see how many I can collect. If you are a tweeting type, I am saving these through the hashtag #tvremote


  1. What I didn’t put in my post is that we call the remote the ‘dit-dit’ because my husband’s family’s earliest remote just had two buttons ‘dit-dit’. Consequently a remote with more than 2 buttons should officially be known as a ‘dit-dit-diddly-dit-dit’!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s