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Origin of ninny

1585–95; perhaps generic use of pet form of Innocent proper name; see -y2
Related formsnin·ny·ish, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for ninny

Historical Examples of ninny

British Dictionary definitions for ninny


noun plural -nies
  1. a dull-witted person
Derived Formsninnyish, adjective

Word Origin for ninny

C16: perhaps from an innocent simpleton
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 ninny

"simpleton, fool," 1590s, perhaps a misdivision of an innocent (see N for other examples), or from the pet form of the proper name Innocent, with sense influenced by the name's literal meaning. There may be some influence in the word of Italian ninno "baby, child."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper