nin·​com·​poop ˈnin-kəm-ˌpüp How to pronounce nincompoop (audio)
plural nincompoops
: a stupid or silly person : fool, simpleton
… they could easily find some nincompoop to give them yet more money …Kevin Maney
"A bunch of nincompoops … that could not find themselves out of a restroom."Jill Zuckman
nincompoopery noun
Each day's news seems to bring ever more horrific stories of greed, incompetence, arrogance, excess, deceit … and inconceivable nincompoopery The Hightower Lowdown

Examples of nincompoop in a Sentence

The people running that company are a bunch of nincompoops! quit acting like a nincompoop, because I know you are smarter than that
Recent Examples on the Web Only one police officer pops up there, a smiley nincompoop who sucks down children’s birthday cake from behind a desk and shrugs his way through conversation. Hillary Kelly, The Atlantic, 11 Mar. 2024 Somebody else could have gotten away with doing half as much, but Ruffalo proves a compound nincompoop. Wesley Morris, New York Times, 18 Feb. 2024 Tom was of course not a nincompoop, but a serious, thoughtful person who hungered to add substance to sketch comedy. Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times, 29 Dec. 2023 One wonders what those worthless nincompoops would have done during the Nazi holocaust that murdered upward of seven million Jews, and over seven million more victims besides. Noah Rothman, National Review, 26 Oct. 2023 The film’s younger guys dress in fake fur and act like Neanderthals, while the middle-aged men who have jobs are portrayed as incompetent nincompoops. Susan Pinker, WSJ, 21 Sep. 2023 Joshua Echebiri, as a nincompoop of a Slender; David Ryan Smith, playing the simperingly pretentious Doctor Caius; Angela Grovey, sympathetically devious as Mama Quickly and Kyle Scatliffe, as a gallant Mister Page. Washington Post, 15 Aug. 2021 Occam's Razor cuts through the noise to suggest Americans aren't through electing a reprobate, a criminal and an utter nincompoop. Arkansas Online, 23 June 2021 Equal in irrelevance was HR Paul, the head of the human resources department, who was generally regarded as a nincompoop psychology PhD with a flatulence problem. Eric Johnson, Recode, 2 Oct. 2018

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'nincompoop.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


origin unknown

First Known Use

circa 1668, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of nincompoop was circa 1668

Dictionary Entries Near nincompoop

Cite this Entry

“Nincompoop.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


nin·​com·​poop ˈnin-kəm-ˌpüp How to pronounce nincompoop (audio)
: a foolish or stupid person

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