chinless wonder

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



The term is derived from the characteristic recessive chin of some aristocrats, popularly thought to be caused by inbreeding and associated with limited intelligence,[1] and from the idea of a robust chin being an indication of masculinity. The use of 'wonder' is ironic.


chinless wonder (plural chinless wonders)

  1. (Britain, derogatory) An ineffectual upper-class man, typically dim-witted and of a weak or indecisive character, frequently one who gained his position through nepotism or social connections.
    • 1948, (Please provide the book title or journal name), volume 31, page 18:
      This was probably the most insufferable social event of a very dull season. The bride blushingly gave her age as forty-two, but the old battle-axe could have been an eye-witness to the San Francisco Fire. At long last, little Dagmar's folks have got her married off to Morty, the chinless wonder. He couldn't hold down a job as grocery clerk, and will be manager of father-in-law's wholesale grocery firm.
    • 1967, The Assistant Librarian, volume 60–61, page 24:
      She is thin, starved to near perfection [] He, a chinless wonder, a credit to Carnaby Street; they stand hand in hand before the enquiry desk
    • 1979, The Spectator, volume 243, number 1, page 25:
      [Actor] John Harding personified the idle spirit of the times as a tennis-possessed chinless wonder.



  1. ^ "chinless", Bloomsbury Dictionary of Idioms, 2009