From a merger of dialectal tolp (with variants; of unknown, probably onomatopoetic, origin) and Middle High German dörpel, itself dissimilated from dörper, from Middle Low German dorper (“villager”), from dorp (“village”). Both of these words meant “rude, gruff person”, and dörper/dörpel particularly “uncultured, unrefined person”. The name of the bird is due to its apparently clumsy movements.
Tölpel m (genitive Tölpels, plural Tölpel)
- someone who acts in a clumsy or awkward way (physically or socially)
- idiot, fool
- gannet (a sea bird)
- Tölpel in Duden online