Definitions

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

  • noun A silly, foolish, or stupid person.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A fool; a blockhead; a simpleton.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun Law A fool; a silly or stupid person.

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

  • noun A silly or foolish person.

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

  • noun a stupid foolish person

Etymologies

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

[Origin unknown.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Earlier (1676) nicompoop, possibly from Latin non compos mentis ("not of sound mind"). Earliest known use of nincompoop spelling is from 1680.

Examples

  • And given ZANU Labour's tendency to reward disgraced Ministers with a fresh chance or three to lord it over us, we could be forgiven for thinking it won't be long before this nincompoop is ordering our lives for us once more.

    Archive 2009-01-18

  • And given ZANU Labour's tendency to reward disgraced Ministers with a fresh chance or three to lord it over us, we could be forgiven for thinking it won't be long before this nincompoop is ordering our lives for us once more.

    Hain: Dishonest or Grossly Incompetent. Take Your Pick

  • Tulliver most justly sets down as a "nincompoop" -- is almost sillier than

    Famous Reviews

  • Hill was famed for his short fuse on the newsroom floor, and reserved his most withering insult - "nincompoop" - for those he felt had performed particularly poorly.

    The Guardian World News

  • 'nincompoop' -- that's only his coarse Scotch breeding; and I believe

    Villette

  • As each day brings yet another piece of evidence to demonstrate their incompetence, people sit there open-mouthed that they have the effrontery to claim they are ‘dealing’ with whatever the latest foul-up is, that yet another ‘review’ is to take place (everyone now understands that to mean ‘kick into the long grass’), that lessons will be learnt and that such and such a nincompoop is a fit and proper person to clear up the mess he or she has created.

    McBlackadder The Dancing Bear

  • As each day brings yet another piece of evidence to demonstrate their incompetence, people sit there open-mouthed that they have the effrontery to claim they are ‘dealing’ with whatever the latest foul-up is, that yet another ‘review’ is to take place (everyone now understands that to mean ‘kick into the long grass’), that lessons will be learnt and that such and such a nincompoop is a fit and proper person to clear up the mess he or she has created.

    Archive 2007-11-18

  • When did you last hear a politician – or anyone, for that matter – say "nincompoop"?

    Tony Blair's A Journey memoir released – live blog

  • Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan called Palin a "nincompoop" last month for her downplaying of the Gipper's political legacy.

    Ed Rollins To Sarah Palin: 'You're No Reagan'

  • Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan called Palin a "nincompoop" last month for her downplaying of the Gipper's political legacy.

    Ed Rollins To Sarah Palin: 'You're No Reagan'

Comments

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  • This word seems like an exaggeration of verbosity just to indicate someone is a fool. Also, since it it rather complicated to articulate, the sayer risks the chance of making a fool of herself.

    August 8, 2008

  • Dates back to at least the 17th century, probably from thieves' cant "nickum-poop."

    October 5, 2008

  • Lesser known words with similar connotations: liripoop, clinchpoop and twiddlepoop. Perhaps they come from the same root?

    October 8, 2008

  • ?from "non compus mentis"

    July 18, 2009

  • @drissel: correction its "non compos mentis" compos mentis meaning control of one's mind.

    December 5, 2011