Definition of nincompoop in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈniNGkəmˌpo͞op/


A foolish or stupid person.
Example sentences
  • And, as a reader recently suggested, it would allow movie watchers to gang up on the nincompoops who insist on chatting away on their cell phones during the show - if their cell phones are equipped with recorders.
  • The best it can do is take people's minds off it by producing wow-provoking new initiatives and making National look like a bunch of nincompoops.
  • Reading such works, I am inclined to throw the egotistical nincompoops out the window - as this is frequently impossible, I content myself with throwing the relevant books across the room.


Late 17th century: perhaps from the given name Nicholas or from Nicodemus (by association with the Pharisee of this name, and his naive questioning of Jesus Christ; compare with French nicodème 'simpleton').

  • The word nincompoop perhaps came from Nicodemus, the name of a Jewish Pharisee in the New Testament who became something of a byword for slow-wittedness. Nicodemus secretly visited Jesus one night to hear about his teachings. Jesus explained, ‘Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God’, which puzzled the Pharisee, who took Jesus literally and said ‘How can a man be born when he is old?’. The -poop part of the word may have come from the old verb poop, which meant ‘to deceive or cheat’. In a similar vein ninny (late 16th century) may be a pet form of the name Innocent.

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