[nin-kuh m-poop, ning-]


a fool or simpleton.

Origin of nincompoop

First recorded in 1670–80; origin uncertain
Related formsnin·com·poop·er·y, nounnin·com·poop·ish, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for nincompoop

ass, fool, jerk, blockhead, imbecile, ninny, simpleton, lummox, clod, nitwit, moron, boob, dolt, witling

Examples from the Web for nincompoop

Historical Examples of nincompoop

  • 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.


    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



a stupid person; fool; idiot

Word Origin for nincompoop

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper