Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Lacking intelligence or vitality; stupid or dull.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective chiefly UK, of a person Lacking intelligence, sense or discernment, often implying lack of capacity of will to remedy the condition.
  • adjective UK Inexperienced, naïve, innocent to the point of foolishness.

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

  • adjective (British informal) lacking intelligence and vitality

Etymologies

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

[From dialectal gawm, sense, from Middle English gome, notice, from Old Norse gaumr.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From English dialectal gaum (“understanding”) +‎ -less (“without”), ultimately from Proto-Germanic *gaumaz, *gaumō (“understand”). The ‘r’ found in this spelling is a vowel-lengthening device common in non-rhotic dialects of English.

Examples

  • What that animal is no one knows, but it has been in the reactionary bestiary so long that none dare call it gormless.

    About 'Capote'

  • The descriptive definitions are well done (though the entries be rare), and if you are searching for another way to refer to the people whom you have traditionally characterized as gormless ninnyhammers and attocerebral twits, perhaps this book is the solution.

    VERBATIM: The Language Quarterly Vol XIV No 1

  • When will David Cameron wise up to the BBC? he should have known better than to allow "gormless" Andrew Lansley to give the BBC such propaganda.

    CO-ORDINATED SCAREMONGERING

  • We all know that if you look up "gormless" in the dictionary, it actually says "Eugene, from Big Brother". posted by Kerron @ 8:28 PM

    Archive 2005-07-01

  • Apparently he looked up the word "gormless" in the dictionary and it said "without gorm".

    Archive 2005-07-01

  • Taking Genesis as a literal truth is a working definition of "gormless".

    Blah, Blah! Technology

  • One cannot shake the feeling that "gormless" and "Stelmach" are two words that will soon fit together as naturally in the journalistic lexicon as, say, "shark infested" and "waters" or

    Progressive Bloggers

  • Ever. doesn't even begin to summarise the past eight years, enough rope, though "gormless" comes close "

    Kiwiblog

  • Her life ruined by gormless yobbery. on April 15, 2010 at 8: 24 pm Agent Zig Zag

    Crime And Immigration In Britain SHOCK! « POLICE INSPECTOR BLOG

  • None of it now seems especially secret or illegible, but in the forty years that have elapsed I suppose the rest of us have become much less gormless, and better at processing oceans of sensory bombardment.

    Psychedelic Denver

Comments

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  • OH SHIT WHO TOOK ALL MY GORM

    December 3, 2006

  • ROFL! (I'm in a meeting right now, or I really would be.)

    December 13, 2006

  • ADJECTIVE: Chiefly British Lacking intelligence and vitality; dull.

    ETYMOLOGY: From dialectal gawm, sense, from Middle English gome, notice, from Old Norse gaumr.

    June 24, 2007

  • Where's my gorm at?

    June 24, 2007

  • gormful

    wonderful

    wonderless

    disgruntled

    gruntled

    disconcerted

    concerted?

    December 7, 2007

  • I think the generic name for these critters is orphan negatives, ie. there is no 'parent' word such as gorm, gruntled, etc.

    Concerted certainly exists though not with opposite polarity to disconcerted but another meaning, while wonderless is plausible but (for the time being) not in use.

    You'd probably enjoy meeting reesettee's wife.

    December 7, 2007

  • Thanks, bilby! And if I may, here's a sillier list of such words--not exactly orphan negatives, but you get the idea. :-)

    December 7, 2007

  • I would say disconcerted means you are no longer giving a concerted effort, so the term holds. Also, you have a word like handful, but clearly you wouldn't ever need handless, it is a meaning full concept. Something can be full of wonder, or it can be normal.

    December 8, 2007

  • Research shows that a lack or loss of gorm is often accompanied by a concomitant loss of feck.

    January 16, 2008

  • And where's Ruth?

    January 16, 2008