The word “dongle” has long existed as a representation of the sound of a bell, and it seems in the very early 80s it acquired the meaning of “a plug-in computer security device,” but in a 1970s magazine devoted to recreational model building, “dingle” and “dongle” were terms denoting components that needed to be connected. When someone needed a word for “a small plug-in device that would make software run,” perhaps they were thinking of this existing usage.
Found this 1970 "American Modeler" magazine article, that gives "dingle" and "dongle" as placeholders for components to be connected, but I can't read the full text. Given how model railroading informed early hacker culture, this seems a likely influence.https://t.co/BdBDRU47C0 pic.twitter.com/k9aHPbgrWK
— Dennis Jerz (@DennisJerz) February 8, 2022