/ Technology

What do you call your… err… TV remote control?

TV remote control

The zapper. The oojimeflip. The thingymajiggy. The clicker. The wand. The doflicky. Or just… the remote. We’ve all got our own names for them – what do you call your TV remote control?

The Fred. Two words that together make absolutely no sense to 99.99% of the world’s population. But to my pre-pubescent mind, those two words formed a very logical concept. And that concept was ‘the TV remote control’.

In fact, the phrase ‘the remote control’ was itself nonsensical to me. If I wanted to switch channels I’d ask my parent’s ‘could you pass the Fred?’. And without a bat of their eyelids, the black rectangular TV thingy would soon be in my hands.

Why ‘the Fred’, I hear you ask? The story goes that my parents handed my toddler brother the remote control and he replied ‘Fred’. Amused, or perhaps bemused, the name stuck with my parents, so that when I came into the world it was the only phrase used for the TV channel switcher. ‘The Fred’ mean remote control. ‘Twas ever thus. And note, it wasn’t called ‘Fred’ like it was some silly name for a pet; it was ‘the Fred’.

It was only when I was nearing my teens (yes, it lasted that long) that I was met with my friend’s confused expression when I asked for ‘the Fred’ at his house. I was then introduced to the phrase ‘remote control’.

Top 10 names for the TV remote control

That was just a look into my little world, but I’m sure most have their own family name for the TV remote control. In fact, according to a survey by the shopping site NetVouchercodes, there are at least 50 words for the remote control, with the top 10 being:

1. The remote
2. The flipper
3. The do-dar
4. The clicker
5. The switcher
6. The doubery
7. The dangle
8. The thingy
9. The thing
10. The whatjamacallit

So, what do you call yours? Does your TV remote control’s name feature in this top 10? Or do you have your own unique name like ‘the Fred’ or ‘Trevor’ – yes, Trevor was number 50 in NetVouchercode’s survey…


It’s the TV remote control, I suppose. I don’t believe I have used it this month.

I prefer Radio 4.

And there was I expecting you to call it the “channel change-waver”!

I’ll see if it responds to the name when I get back from holiday, John. 🙂

I’m on a boat at present and have noticed a a TV and remote control waiting patiently in the corner. There is no signal here in the Warwickshire countryside, so I name this remote control the ‘Useless thing’.

Which? Conversation definitely wins for interactivity and entertainment. If the radio programme is boring, I hit the ‘off’ button on the remote control, but I feel duty-bound to read every post, even the ones on homeopathy. 🙂

Unlike Wavechange I use ‘the remote’ quite a lot as I do not like to watch adverts. I either check the on TV guide to see what else is on, get a drink from the kitchen or I switch to a news channel. I wonder how many others do the same.

Yes, I do that, and I also look out for that little buffering symbol in the top right corner of the screen so I can get the andrew in my ‘and in time to make an instantaneous switch-over. I then deploy the pip function to see when to return to the shopping channel.

I understand that if you wait and watch a programme on the computer then you can avoid the adverts.

It is the zapper in this house – or the remote. FIL calls it the switcher. I’d never heard that expression before. He now has a very big remote control with very big buttons which has changed his life as he can just see the numbers and feel from one button to another. It is worth learning where the numbers are as they tend to be the same on the phone and the mobile and the remote. Something I hadn’t realised until he found it difficult because I can see and just look.

I wish we could find a radio that would work for him. Digital is diabolical – a complete failure. Internet radio works but haven’t found a radio with decent buttons.

Oh, for the good old days when there was only one. It used to be ‘the switcher’ at my Mum’s house, then ‘the remote’ at my Dad’s house, when he’d picked up on my Stepmum and Stepbrother’s word for it. Now, due to a ridiculous number of different remotes (one for the TV, one for the stereo, one for the Apple TV, one for the Raspberry Pi), the conversation in my house goes like this:

“Please could you pass the remote?”
“No, not that one, the other one…. no, the *other* other…. oh fine, I’ll get it myself.”

It’s usually called the “****ing Thing” here as in “Give me the ****ing thing”, “Where is the ****ing Thing?” and “The “****ing Thing needs new batteries.”

Sophie Gilbert says:
3 October 2013

I didn’t know anybody called it anything else than the doofer.