Definition of gormless
: lacking intelligence : stupid
gormlessnessnoun, chiefly British
gormless was our Word of the Day on 11/14/2013. Hear the podcast!
Examples of gormless in a sentence
a comedy show that invariably portrays the British aristocracy as a bunch of gormless twits
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.
Origin and Etymology of gormless
alteration of English dialect gaumless, from gaum attention, understanding (from Middle English gome, from Old Norse gaum, gaumr) + -less
First Known Use: 1883
GORMLESS Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of gormless for English Language Learners
: very stupid or foolish
Seen and Heard
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