Has a gormless guy lost his gorm?
We Irish, given the number of Irish jokes that float around whenever the IRA start blowing things up, should be careful when talking about stupidity. But since Dennis Heinemann, of Perth, Western Australia, said such nice things about Word for Word we feel obliged to answer his query about the origin of gormless, an English slang word for stupid.
It was originally a Gaelic noun, gomal, meaning a stupid-looking person. This became the Anglo-Irish noun gaum, with the same meaning. Then it shifted into English as gorm in adjectival mode as stupid, and finally reversed itself as gormless with the same meaning.
So if someone calls you gormless, you should really take it as a compliment - courtesy of the Irish.
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