gormless

adjective
gorm·​less | \ˈgȯrm-ləs \

Definition of gormless 

chiefly British

: lacking intelligence : stupid

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from gormless

gormlessness noun chiefly British

Did You Know?

Gormless began life as the English dialect word gaumless, which was altered to the modern spelling when it expanded into wider use in the late 19th century. The origins of gaumless are easy to understand; the word derives from a combination of the dialect noun gaum, meaning "attention" or "understanding," and the suffix -less. Gaum also functions as a verb in some dialects, where it means "to pay attention to" and "to understand." An unrelated verb gaum means "to behave in a stupid or awkward manner." There's also a noun gaum, meaning "a stupid doltish person." But none of these are as commonly used nowadays as gormless, which itself is most frequently seen in British English.

Examples of gormless in a Sentence

a comedy show that invariably portrays the British aristocracy as a bunch of gormless twits

Recent Examples on the Web

Much of the movie unfolds inside the suburban Connecticut mansion where Lily lives with her gormless mother (Francie Swift) and her loathsome stepdad. Justin Chang, latimes.com, "Cory Finley's 'Thoroughbreds' is a delectably twisted mean-girls noir," 8 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gormless.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of gormless

1883, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for gormless

alteration of English dialect gaumless, from gaum attention, understanding (from Middle English gome, from Old Norse gaum, gaumr) + -less

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about gormless

Listen to Our Podcast about gormless

Statistics for gormless

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for gormless

The first known use of gormless was in 1883

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for gormless

gormless

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of gormless

: very stupid or foolish

More from Merriam-Webster on gormless

See words that rhyme with gormless

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for gormless

Comments on gormless

What made you want to look up gormless? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

obstinately defiant of authority

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Autumn Words of the Day 2018

  • a-top-down-image-of-road-through-an-autumn-forest
  • Which is a synonym of fugacious?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!