Definitions

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

  • noun A fool; a simpleton.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A fool; a simpleton.

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

  • noun A fool; a simpleton.

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

[Perhaps alteration of innocent.]

Examples

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

    Boing Boing

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

    Boing Boing

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

    Boing Boing

  • 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

Comments

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  • Probably short for nincompoop, no?

    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

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

    July 3, 2007