Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A fool; a simpleton.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a silly or foolish person

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A fool; a simpleton.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A fool; a simpleton.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a stupid foolish person

Etymologies

Perhaps alteration of innocent.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • Looks like that grinning ninny from the penis pill commercials.

    Boing Boing

  • A pile of newspapers and letters for the master of the house; the Newcome Sentinel, old county paper, moderate conservative, in which our worthy townsman and member is praised, his benefactions are recorded, and his speeches given at full length; the Newcome Independent, in which our precious member is weekly described as a ninny, and informed almost every Thursday morning that he is a bloated aristocrat, as he munches his dry toast.

    The Newcomes

  • John remembered, Dr. Johnson had lived, and he tried to imagine the scene that took place on the night of misery when Oliver Goldsmith went to the Doctor and wept over the failure of _The Good Natured Man_, and was called a ninny for his pains.

    The Foolish Lovers

  • Oh Richard Whittington you have made me laugh, never in my life have I been called a ninny!

    The Guardian World News

  • By the way, this is the first time I've heard "ninny" used in a sentence by an adult in about 70 years.

    Tallulah Morehead: Survivor: Samoa: Deja Ew!

  • Leaving aside the "ninny" part, the analysis "it's a religion" means, among other things:

    Ellis Weiner: The Fraudacity of Hope: Bush's Faith-Based Triumph

  • Another "ninny" played to-night, namely GIANNINNI, all right vocally, but not much dramatically.

    Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 103, October 22, 1892

  • Wishing to please her father, as well as convince Mr. Plaisted that her name did not make her a "ninny," she selected some of her best pieces and sang her most charming songs; then, after a few soft notes, she broke into a bird-song, whistling the notes so faithfully true that Mr. Plaisted was startled as well as delighted, and the conversation he had begun with Gussie came to an abrupt end.

    Miss Dexie A Romance of the Provinces

  • In the stories of village life its signification is generally that of a "ninny;" in the "fairy stories" it is frequently applied to the youngest of the well-known "Three Brothers," the "Boots" of the family as Dr. Dasent has called him.

    Russian Fairy Tales A Choice Collection of Muscovite Folk-lore

  • _Durak_, -- a "ninny" or "gowk" -- is sent to take care of the children of

    Russian Fairy Tales A Choice Collection of Muscovite Folk-lore

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Comments

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  • Perhaps derived from the proper name Innocent. (etymonline)

    July 3, 2007

  • Good question--a quick look suggests not, though, if etymonline is to be trusted. Both apparently come from names. Ninny has a connotation of immature; nincompoop has more of a connotation of fool. It is a relief to me, because my mother sometimes called me a little ninny, but never a nincompoop. ;-)

    July 3, 2007

  • Probably short for nincompoop, no?

    July 3, 2007