• synonyms


[nin-kuh m-poop, ning-]
See more synonyms for nincompoop on Thesaurus.com
  1. a fool or simpleton.
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Origin of nincompoop

First recorded in 1670–80; origin uncertain
Related formsnin·com·poop·er·y, nounnin·com·poop·ish, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for nincompoop

Historical Examples

  • When ye hear of a man a woman hez made, ye hears of a nincompoop.

    Jeff Briggs's Love Story

    Bret Harte

  • 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.


    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

British Dictionary definitions for nincompoop


  1. a stupid person; fool; idiot
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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

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper