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NINCOMPOOP

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NINCOMPOOP

Postby Dr. Goodword » Mon May 15, 2006 10:54 pm

• nincompoop •

Pronunciation: ning-kêm-pup • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: An affectionate synonym for simpleton, dunce, fool, and similar such deprecative terms referring to low mental capacity.

Notes: Sometimes people you love do foolish things that you wish to comment on affectionately. Today's Good Word is just the term you need for such situations. Nincompoops are nincompoopish people who behave nincompoopishly. If you engage in nincompoopery on a regular basis, you could achieve the awesome status of nincompoophood! Wow!

In Play: Today's Good Word is such a pleasant way to call someone stupid in a way that suggests forgiveness: "Oh, no! The old nincompoop has put his trousers on backwards again!" English playwright William Wycherley used it to effect in his 1676 play, The Plain Dealer: "Thou senseless, impertinent, quibbling, drivelling, feeble, paralytic, impotent, fumbling, frigid nincompoop". (Something I said?)

Word History: An earlier 16th century word, noddypoop, may have influenced today's word, which first appeared in print in 1673. It seems to be a compound of ninny, a reduced, slang form of innocent + poop. Poop began its career referring to the rear (aft) of a ship (as in poop deck) in the 15th century and ended up referring to the hinder parts of people. In the 16th century, a poop was a toot on a horn or a blast of air through a horn but by 1744 it referred to a blast of gas from the hinder part of a person or animal. Virginia Woolfe, in her novel Voyage Out (1915), seems to have been the first to have published poop indicating a bore or stupid person. We assume that a nincompoop is a poop superior to a plain one.
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Re: NINCOMPOOP

Postby gailr » Mon May 15, 2006 11:38 pm

Meaning: An affectionate synonym for simpleton, dunce, fool, and similar such deprecative terms referring to low mental capacity.
...

Word History: ... It seems to be a compound of ninny, a reduced, slang form of innocent + poop. Poop began its career referring to the rear (aft) of a ship (as in poop deck) in the 15th century and ended up referring to the hinder parts of people.


Thanks for some great memories, Dr. Goodword; this one is used freely by the side of my family that doesn't worry all that much about other people's feelings. :)

The history made me smile as well. In 4th grade we learned How To Use The Dictionary, a task presided over by a take-no-prisoners sort of Dominican nun. She barked at my arch-nemesis to identify the first and last words on page [x], as identified by the page header (a page number apparently pulled from her @ss, as it were). The unfortunate girl nearly had a seizure before gasping out paper and poop deck. Pandemonium ensued! After all this time, I can still remember how great it was. Sadly, I did not know the term Schadenfreude back then, but I happily added centuries to my future time in purgatory by revelling in the sensation... I felt that she experienced a little well-deserved temporal punishment, and I'm betting that Sr. J checked her teacher's copy more carefully before this exercise in the future!

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Postby scw1217 » Tue May 16, 2006 7:28 am

What a great word and with a funny history to boot! This one is a Good Word classic!
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