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[nin-kuh m-poop, ning-] /ˈnɪn kəmˌpup, ˈnɪŋ-/
a fool or simpleton.
Origin of nincompoop
First recorded in 1670-80; origin uncertain
Related forms
nincompoopery, noun
nincompoopish, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for nincompoop
Historical Examples
  • When ye hear of a man a woman hez made, ye hears of a nincompoop.

  • That a man with a weak, receding chin is always a nincompoop.

    The American Credo George Jean Nathan
  • And I won't have it spoiled, by every nincompoop poking his nose into it.

    Perlycross R. D. Blackmore
  • The nincompoop can always be counted on to deify the commonplace.

    The Fighting Chance Robert W. Chambers
  • Wouldn't some nincompoop like Forsyth be perhaps, after all, his best choice?

    The Cathedral Sir Hugh Walpole
  • At moments he showed extraordinary talent as an engineer; at others he behaved like a nincompoop.

  • And to think of her as the wife of that blithering little ass—that nincompoop of a Karl Brabetz!

    The Man From Brodney's

    George Barr McCutcheon
  • I don't pay money for a nincompoop to outrage my feelings of respect and loyalty, when he's in my pay, d' ye hear?

  • That young Welsh nincompoop imp has his eyes everywhere; his ears are always open.

    The Cambrian Sketch-Book R. Rice Davies
  • I have made a scurvy bargain: art a cozening knave, I doubt, as well as a nincompoop.'

British Dictionary definitions for nincompoop


/ˈnɪnkəmˌpuːp; ˈnɪŋ-/
a stupid person; fool; idiot
Word Origin
C17: of unknown origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for nincompoop

1670s, nicompoop. Despite similarity [noted by Johnson] to Latin legal phrase non compos mentis "insane, mentally incompetent" (c.1600), the connection is denied by etymologists because the earliest forms lack the second -n-. Weekley thinks first element may be a proper name, and cites Nicodemus, which he says was used in French for "a fool," or Nicholas. Klein says probably an invented word.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for nincompoop



A fool or stupid person (1676+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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