a big, clumsy, stupid person; lout.
an awkward or unskilled sailor; landlubber.


clumsy; stupid; lubberly.

verb (used without object)

to behave like a lubber, especially in the handling of a boat.

Origin of lubber

First recorded in 1325–75, lubber is from the Middle English word lobre. See lob1, -er1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for lubber

Historical Examples of lubber

  • Wasn't there one Godforsaken lubber in the lot fit to raise a yell on a rope?

    The Shadow-Line

    Joseph Conrad

  • Port your helm, you lubber; don't you see where you're standing for?

    My New Curate

    P.A. Sheehan

  • Caesar no understand den what um mean, but um say—‘What’s dat, you lubber?

    Hunting the Skipper

    George Manville Fenn

  • The mate now complimented me by exclaiming, ‘Why, look at the lubber!’

    Cast Away in the Cold

    Isaac I. Hayes

  • Then he stared at me again, and cried: ‘Is that the lubber Hardy, of the Blackbird?’

    Cast Away in the Cold

    Isaac I. Hayes

British Dictionary definitions for lubber



a big, awkward, or stupid person
short for landlubber
Derived Formslubberly, adjective, adverblubberliness, noun

Word Origin for lubber

C14 lobre, probably from Scandinavian. See lob 1
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

Word Origin and History for lubber

mid-14c., "big, clumsy, stupid fellow who lives in idleness," from lobre, earlier lobi "lazy lout," probably of Scandinavian origin (cf. Swedish dialectal lubber "a plump, lazy fellow"). But OED suggests a possible connection with Old French lobeor "swindler, parasite," with sense altered by association with lob (n.) in the "bumpkin" sense. A sailors' word since 16c. (cf. landlubber), but earliest attested use is of lazy monks (cf. abbey-lubber). Cf. also lubberwort, the name of the mythical herb that produces laziness (1540s); and Lubberland "imaginary land of plenty without work" (1590s). Sometimes also Lubbard (1580s).


1520s, from lubber (n.). Related: Lubbered; lubbering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper