Nincompoop is, according to one source, (a book titled “Lock Stock and Barrel”), derived from a phrase meaning “innocent fool.” The reason given is that “Nin”, is a shortened version of the name Innocent (similar to Edward being shortened to Ned), and the old Dutch, “poep” meaning fool (although it also means “shit”).

Another definition is it is a corruption of “non compos mentis” which means, “not sound of mind.” Although I doubt this is exactly right since although it would account for the “nincomp” part, the “poop” seems to have come from nowhere.

There may also be a French element, the word “Nicademus” means fool, so it could mean “foolish fool.”

The first recorded use was in 1706, but there have been uses prior to that with the spelling “Nicampoop,” which may or may not be the same word. Today it tends to be a fairly snobbish insult, and often refers to an underling, such as a servant or waiter, although can be applied to a superior such as the president or prime minister. Not that I’m saying anything…

Sources:, and the book “Lock Stock and Barrel”

Monkfish says: For what it's worth, the OED records a use from 1676 ("nicompoop") and says the word's "of obscure origin" and "probably only a fanciful formation". ("Johnson's suggestion of non compos does not agree with the earliest forms.")

Just another one of those Close Encounters of the Jet-Poop kind.

I’ve already told you about the first time I met Jet-Poop and even though things started out on the wrong foot, he finally came clean about his younger brother Twiddle. Even though that was about eight years ago I think we’re both better off for the experience but in telling that tale I left a out little bit. I’m here today to right that wrong and if that means Jet-Poop never speaks to me again, puts me on ignore, never cools another one of my write ups or downvotes anything I contribute, so be it.

There’s another relative he barely mentions that goes by the name of “nincompoop”. I’m pretty sure he’s either a second or third cousin and even though I only met nincom once in person I’d still like to punch the living shit out of him. Allow me to explain.

I think it was a couple of days after what’s become known as the “Twiddle Poop Incident” and we were running low on supplies. We were going through cash, booze and drugs at a pace that would rival Hunter S. Thompson and his lawyer companion in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. We were in dire straits and in need of a resupply mission so we could sink even lower into debauchery.

borgo: “What are we gonna do man? We’re down to our last few pesos. We haven’t eaten in fuckin’ days and I’m running on fumes. This is beginning to suck bigtime.”

Jet-Poop: “I dunno man, I got some contacts in one of the border towns in Texas but it’s kinda risky. My cousin nincom might be able to help us out but he’s sorta an idiot. I think our friend Webbie best described when he called him “A fool; a silly or stupid person. An old ninnyhammer, a dotard.”

borgo: “Fuck Webster! We need to get our shit in order and we need to do it fast. Get him on the goddamn phone pronto and tell him what we need and where we can meet him.”

Jet-Poop:”I dunno man, I have my doubts, this could get pretty risky.”

borgo:Just do it.”

I wandered off to take a piss in the desert and left Jet-Poop behind to make a call on his cell. When I got back he had this look of trepidation on face that was hard to explain. Sorta like a confused puppy and I could read the doubt behind his eyes.

We got back in the car and with a full moon behind us headed off for our rendezvous in a border town about 100 miles away.

We were just getting ready to cross over when we spotted nincompoop on the other side. He was running up and down and waving his hands in the air and shouting at the top of his lungs.

Nincompoop: “Hey Jet, great to see ya man! How long has it been? I got everything you asked me for, the cash, the weed, the speed and I was wondering if I could come along for the rest of the ride!”

The last thing I remember seeing was him being thrown to the ground by the border patrol. Since we were still on the Mexican side we were pulled from the car and even though I don’t speak Spanish I didn’t need an interpreter to tell me to put my hands behind my head and lay face down on the pavement. I can still hear the Mexican guard tell his compadre in Spanglish “eef zee gringo make a move, blow heez head off."

A search of the car didn’t yield too much. Lucky for us we had already consumed most of the contraband along the way. We feigned ignorance about any knowledge of nincompoop and claimed he must have had a case of mistaken identity and he was looking for somebody else. With the few pesos we had left, we were able to bribe the Mexican cops into letting us go.

After a brief discussion we decided we’d head back into Mexico rather than cross over. Who knew what nincompoop was telling the cops on the other side, better to lay low and try our luck again in a few days in another border town.

And that’s just what we did. For us, I guess the story has a happy ending. We parted ways soon after and I never did ask Jet-Poop what became of nincompoop nor do I really care. He deserves whatever he got.

I’ll leave it with this though. I seriously hope Jet-Poop never invites me to one of his family reunions.

I might have to kill someone.

Nin"com*poop (?), n. [A corruption of non compos.]

A fool; a silly or stupid person.


An old ninnyhammer, a dotard, a nincompoop, is the best language she can afford me. Addison.


© Webster 1913.

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