gorm·​less | \ ˈgȯrm-ləs How to pronounce gormless (audio) \

Definition of gormless

chiefly British
: lacking intelligence : stupid

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Other Words from gormless

gormlessness noun, chiefly British

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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, 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

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The first known use of gormless was in 1883

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Cite this Entry

“Gormless.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gormless. Accessed 25 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for gormless



English Language Learners Definition of gormless

: very stupid or foolish


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