AskDefine | Define gormless

Dictionary Definition

gormless adj : British informal [syn: gaumless]

User Contributed Dictionary


Alternative spellings


From English dialectal gorm + suffix -less. Originally from Old Germanic *gaum-, ‘understand’. The ‘r’ found in this spelling is a vowel-lengthening device common in non-rhotic dialects of English


  • italbrac RP /ˈgɔːmləs/


  1. In the context of "chiefly|UK|of a person": Lacking intelligence, sense or discernment, often implying lack of capacity of will to remedy the condition.
  2. Inexperienced, naïve, innocent to the point of foolishness.


  • 1845, Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights, ch xxi
    Did I ever look so stupid: so gormless as Joseph calls it?
  • 1988, Roald Dahl, Matilda, p4
    But Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood were both so gormless and so wrapped up in their own silly little lives that they failed to notice anything unusual about their daughter.
  • 1990, Terry Pratchett, Moving Pictures, p171
    There was a sort of gormless unstoppability about him that she found rather fascinating.
  • , p125
    “Hmm. Made an excuse, did he? Not as gormless as he looks in press photographs, then. […]”


lacking intelligence
  • Dutch: onnozel, onhandig
  • Dutch: naïef, onnozel
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