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The term was originally used in the United States as early as 1919 for an unintelligent or brutish male.
The stereotypical bimbo appearance has become that of an attractive woman, often blonde and with a curvaceous figure and large breasts, possibly wearing heavy makeup and revealing clothing. However, none of these traits are strictly needed for a person to be considered a bimbo. The common inclusion of blonde hair is due to the widely held European belief that blonde hair is beautiful. It is sometimes associated with women who dye their hair blonde indicating that physical attractiveness is more important to them than other, non-physical traits and as an extension to the "dumb blonde" stereotype.
The word bimbo derives itself from the Italian bimbo, derived from bambino, a masculine-gender term that means "(male) baby" or "very young (male) child" (bimbo's feminine equivalent is bimba). Use of this term began in the United States as early as 1919, and was a slang word used to describe an unintelligent or brutish man.
It was not until the 1920s that the term bimbo first began to be associated with females. In 1920, composer Frank Crumit recorded "My Little Bimbo Down on the Bamboo Isle", in which the term "bimbo" is used to describe an island girl of questionable virtue. The 1929 silent film Desert Nights describes a wealthy female crook as a bimbo and in The Broadway Melody, an angry Bessie Love calls a chorus girl a bimbo. The first use of its female meaning in the Oxford English Dictionary was in 1929, from the scholarly journal American Speech where the definition was given simply as "a woman".