Share this entry

gormless Line breaks: gorm|less
Pronunciation: /ˈɡɔːmləs/

Definition of gormless in English:


British informal
Lacking sense or initiative; foolish: a constantly grinning, rather gormless boy
More example sentences
  • Of course when our hero arrives at the abandoned post-office, waiting for him will be an old man and a gormless boy.
  • To academic historians they were ‘mere entertainment’ - just mindless pap for gormless morons.
  • And to top it all off, we end up with a gormless and ridiculous gaze into the sunset.


Mid 18th century (originally as gaumless): from dialect gaum 'understanding' (from Old Norse gaumr 'care, heed') + -less.

  • The original spelling was gaumless formed from dialect gaum ‘understanding’, from Old Norse gaumr ‘care, heed’.



Example sentences
  • So look, I'm not making excuses or anything, but if it takes me a couple of seconds of staring at you gormlessly when we meet, it's not because I'm seven shades of stupid.
  • The report prattles on gormlessly.
  • It doesn't take a market analyst to surmise that our beer industry is in crisis and staring gormlessly at the bottom of an empty pint glass over what to do about it.


Example sentences
  • I try to combat my natural gormlessness by writing to-do lists and by obsessive-compulsive multiple-checking rituals.
  • Laurie was particularly effective at capturing Bertie's distinctive blend of airy nonchalance and refined gormlessness.
  • Whatever the reason, the effect was one of utter gormlessness.

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day exemplum
Pronunciation: ɪɡˈzɛmpləm
an example or model...