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


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.


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  • 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' Frank Wilson 2006

  • 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 1987

  • 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.


  • 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 Kerron Cross 2005

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

    Archive 2005-07-01 Kerron Cross 2005

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

    Blah, Blah! Technology wasmall 2010

  • 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 2009

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

    Kiwiblog 2008

  • 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 Inspector Gadget 2010

  • 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 2009


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    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







    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

  • Ruth was last seen hamming it up in some Gilbert and Sullivan operetta. There may have been some piratical involvement.

    It seems fair to point out that the character of Ruth is entirely different from her counterparts Feck and Gorm. One might think of her as Cordelia to their Regan and Goneril. But to refer to her as Cord would only introduce a whole nother layer of anachronistic metaconfusion.

    I'll stop now. Promise.

    January 17, 2008

  • Don't stop, sionnach. Your equation of ruth, feck and gorm with Lear's daughters is a thing of dazzling genius.

    January 17, 2008

  • Didn't Ruth run off with that fellow Guile?

    January 17, 2008

  • I thought it was Hap.

    January 17, 2008

  • The first post on this page is the funniest thing I think I've ever read on Wordie. Also, I used to work with a guy named Hap...

    January 17, 2008

  • Hap is hung up somewhere in a Beckett play. Guile Lombardo formed a band and went on to become famous.

    January 17, 2008

  • A place where everyone is happy: a gormitory

    January 17, 2008

  • I always though Hap hooked up with Hope. 'Less I'm wrong, of course.

    January 17, 2008

  • The beasts stood with heads lowered dejectedly against the wooden hoot-pieces of their stalls. Graceless, Pointless, Feckless, and Aimless awaited their turn to be milked. Sometimes Aimless ran her dry tongue, with a rasping sound sharp as a file through silk, awkwardly across the bony flank of Feckless, which was still moist with the rain that had fallen upon it through the roof during the night, or Pointless turned her large dull eyes sideways as she swung her head upwards to tear down a mouthful of cobwebs from the wooden runnet above her head.


    'Be that as it may,' shouted another voice, strange to Flora. 'Graceless' has lost a leg! Where is it? Answer me that, ye doithering old man. Who will buy Graceless now when I take her down to Beershorn Market? Who wants a cow wi' only three legs, saving some great old circus man looking round for freakies to put in his show?'

    Cold Comfort Farm. (Stella Gibbons)

    January 17, 2008

  • Citation on salinity.

    June 26, 2008