gomer

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See also: Gomer and GOMER

English[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Latin gomor in the Vulgate, from Ancient Greek γομόρ (gomór) in the Septuagint, from Hebrew עומר ('ómer, sheaf; unit of dry measure)

Noun[edit]

gomer (plural gomers)

  1. (historical units of measure, archaic) Alternative form of omer: a former Hebrew unit of dry volume equal to about 2.3 L or 2.1 quarts.
    • 1801, Thomas Coke, A Commentary on the Holy Bible[1], page 20:
      On the morrow, the 16th, after having offered to God the homer, they began eating the corn of the country; and the 17th the manna ceased to fall from heaven. What supports this calculation is, that the gomer, or sheaf, was offered the 16th of Nisan, in broad day-light, though pretty late.

Etymology 2[edit]

After Louis-Gabriel de Gomer, the French artillery officer who invented the design. Attested in English since the early nineteenth century.

Noun[edit]

gomer (plural gomers)

  1. A conical chamber at the breech of the bore in heavy ordnance, especially in mortars.
    • 1809, Louis de Tousard, American Artillerist's Companion[2], page 659:
      [Table] of dimensions of howitzers, stone and Gomer mortars, vol. 1. p. 250.
    • 1847, Augustus Frederick Oakes, The Young Artillery Officer's Assistant[3], page 15:
      All iron mortars now in use have gomer chambers and brass ones conical.

Etymology 3[edit]

Likely from the oafish fictional character Gomer Pyle from the 1960s American sitcom The Andy Griffith Show.

Noun[edit]

gomer (plural gomers)

  1. (slang, derogatory) A stupid, awkward, or oafish person.
    • 2005, Ralph Hardy, Lefty, iUniverse (2004), ISBN 9780595296262, page 25:
      “Lordy Jeezus,” he said out loud. When did he become such a gomer?
    • 2007, Brian McDaniel, Walt Disney World: The Full Report, iUniverse (2007), ISBN 9780595477654, page 147:
      Okay, you wanted to go to the Big Apple, but didn't want to sit in traffic or feel like a country hic, as you stare up at all 'dem big buildins'. Try Universal Studios Florida's version of New York, where you can stare at all the fake big buildings all you want and not feel like a total Gomer.
    • 2008, Julie Johnson Oliver, I've Been 16 for 34 Years, Groveland Branch Press (2008), ISBN 9780578000862, page 72:
      Everyone will have to guess who I want to dance with tonight, I thought. I'm not giving myself away to this bunch of gomers. That would be way too embarrassing.
  2. (US, military slang, derogatory) An inept trainee or serviceperson.
    • 1993, James Ebert, A Life in a Year: The American Infantryman in Vietnam, 1965-1972[4], page 34:
      These recruits were given such sobriquets as moron, idiot, or Gomer (after the television marine Gomer Pyle). There were constant comparisons between wayward recruits and animals or vegetables.
  3. (US, military slang) An opponent in combat or in training.
    • 2010, Brian Easton, Autobiography of a Werewolf Hunter[5], page 22:
      We were almost invisible in our tiger stripes and ghillie suits. However, as the unit marched by, a lone gomer broke rank and ventured into the high, wet saw grass that concealed our position.
Synonyms[edit]
Hyponyms[edit]

Etymology 4[edit]

Uncertain. Perhaps the same as, or influenced by Etymology 3, above. It is frequently claimed that the word is an acronym for "grand old man of the emergency room", or for "Get Out of My ER", the latter story popularized by the 1978 novel The House of God by Samuel Shem. John Algeo (1991) notes that various people claim the word is an acronym or a borrowing from Hebrew G-M-R (finish; complete), but suggests that these accounts are dubious. He concludes that a connection to Gomer Pyle or to the "stupid, awkward person" sense of the word is the most likely source. The Oxford English Dictionary online (2003) likewise treats the "undesirable patient" and "stupid person" senses as uses of the same word.

Alternative forms[edit]

Noun[edit]

gomer (plural gomers)

  1. (medical slang, derogatory) An undesirable hospital patient, or a patient who does not need medical care.
    That patient is a total GOMER. Turf him and let's get some lunch.
    • 1976, Stephen Charles Frankel, Emergency Medical Care in an Urban Area[6], page 118:
      Mumford (1970) noted that the terms ‘crock’, ‘gomer’, and ‘turkey’, were sometimes utilized by interns to designate different types of undesirable patients, and sometimes used synonymously. At Bayview, gomer was the preferred term
  2. (slang, derogatory) A dirty, senile, or otherwise unpleasant patient.
    • 2001, David Thomasma and Thomasine Kimbrough Kushner, Ward Ethics: Dilemmas for Medical Students and Doctors in Training[7], page 163:
      It was 3:00 a.m. and an elderly homeless person had just been admitted to the emergency room. [...] One resident seemed tired and angry and said, "I can't believe we got beeped out of bed for this gomer."
    • 2008, James Bernat, Ethical Issues in Neurology[8], page 359:
      As a consequence of their loss of their personhood, the medical subculture has coined a lexicon of pejorative, cynical, and insulting names for demented patients, the most common of which is "gomer."
  3. (slang, informal) A patient who does not respond to medical treatment.
    • 1985, Deborah B. Leiderman and Jean-Anne Grisso, “The gomer phenomenon”, in Journal of Health and Social Behavior[9], page 225:
      The number of problems the two groups of patients presented to physicians was comparable; however, the pattern of their hospital stays contrasted dramatically. Gomer patients remained in the hospital longer than other patients, and had more consultations for diagnosis and therapy, and posed more diagnostic and therapeutic dilemmas for the physicians who cared for them.
References[edit]
  • Samuel Shem (1978) The House of God, New York: Dell.
  • John Algeo (1991) Fifty Years Among the New Words, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • gomer, n3.”, in OED Online, Oxford: Oxford University Press, March 2003.