nimrod (=idiot)

Discussion in 'Etymology, History of languages and Linguistics (EHL)' started by amikama, Sep 24, 2009.

  1. amikama

    amikama sordomodo

    ישראל
    עברית
    Hi all.

    If I understood correctly, nimrod is a slang term meaning "idiot, jerk". How did it get this meaning? Does it have to do with the Biblical hunter Nimrod?

    Thanks.
     
  2. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    Yes: The precise origin of the slang meaning is unknow but is related to the Biblical name. Source.
     
  3. origumi Senior Member

    Hebrew
  4. amikama

    amikama sordomodo

    ישראל
    עברית
    Thanks, berndf and origumi.
     
  5. rgl_warrior New Member

    Spanish
    Nimrod is the most courage bluesy forcer in front of God as it is also worthy to mention as his consagreated responsibility to have two wives instead of one It doesn't mean that everybody can do it as equal only him is the one who can doit Besides I would not have said "in front of" I will say besides and behind Evan and Bruce All mighty
     
  6. khodor New Member

    Arabic-Lebanon and English
    In lebanon we call nimrod for a person whose so mean but not in formal arabic but in the lebanese dialect.
     
  7. ancalimon Senior Member

    Istanbul
    Turkish
    In Turkish we use nemrut as "cruel, grim". But it's an archaic not much used word. Is this the same word we are talking about?
     
  8. CapnPrep Senior Member

    France
    AmE
    Yes. Did you briefly consider looking in the dictionary (e.g. Nişanyan) before posting your question?
     
  9. tFighterPilot Senior Member

    Israel - Hebrew
    Interestingly enough, it's used as a name in Israel. Not a very popular name, but a name nonetheless. I know one guy who bares it (he's anything but an idiot...)
     
  10. apmoy70

    apmoy70 Senior Member

    Greek
    In Greek «Νεμρώδ» /nem'roð/ (the Biblical hunter) is a metaphor for capable and enthusiast hunters; no connections with stupidity
     
  11. pwmeek

    pwmeek Senior Member

    SE Michigan, USA
    English - American
    Certainly the American usage derives from a series of Warner Brothers animated cartoons 1940s - 1960s featuring Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd. Seen as plain text dialog, there would be no real indication that the term was being used sarcastically: "What a nimrod!" However, when heard, there is no doubt whatsoever that sarcasm is meant.

    It isn't clear to me (I have most of these cartoons on DVD) when the changeover from nimrod (meaning hunter, but sarcastically, indicating that Fudd is an incompetent hunter) to nimrod (meaning a fool) took place, but the later cartoons definitely are using the latter meaning. The way it is used in dialog clearly implies fool, rather than failed hunter. To me this means that the new meaning became a part of the American vocabulary sometime during that 20 or 30 years.

    Taken in context, Steinbeck's usage seems to be somewhat intermediate: still a hunter, but implied as being a foolish or incompetent hunter. (I could not find the earlier reference in my edition of the OED - 1991 photo-reduced Compact Edition.)
     
  12. CapnPrep Senior Member

    France
    AmE
    Here it is:
     
  13. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    Well be have still the issue with that quote from the 1932 Broadway comedy play The Great Magoo: He's in love with her. "That makes about the tenth. The same old Nimrod. Won't let her alone for a second." as quoted in #3 above. Google books allowed by to verify the quotation but unfortunately not the context (snippet view). As the word is capitalized it is not clear whether it is a proper name or not (like when you say the same old Joe).

    EDIT: Crossed with CapnPrep's post.
     
  14. pwmeek

    pwmeek Senior Member

    SE Michigan, USA
    English - American
    THe Great Magoo quote sounds like a hunter - finding and falling in love with ten women.
     

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