from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A fool.
  • n. A meaningless word used in refrains, especially in old English ballads and glees.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A silly fellow; a ninny.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • A meaningless burden in old English ballads and glees, generally “hey, nonny.” It was similar to the fa, la of madrigals.
  • A whim.
  • n. A ninny; a simpleton.


Sorry, no etymologies found.



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  • According to, this is synonymous with ninny, but it's also a nonsense word that appears in hundreds of traditional British songs and poems. I was surprised to find it in Sh-boom, by the Chords. (See jibboom.)

    Sigh no more, ladies, sigh nor more;

    Men were deceivers ever;

    One foot in sea and one on shore,

    To one thing constant never;

    Then sigh not so,

    But let them go,

    And be you blithe and bonny;

    Converting all your sounds of woe

    Into. Hey nonny, nonny.

    -Much Ado about Nothing

    July 29, 2008