From dialectal English gaum (“heed, attention”) + -less (“without”), from Old Norse gaum, from Proto-Germanic *gaumaz, *gaumō (“heed, attention”). The ‘r’ found in this spelling is a vowel-lengthening device common in non-rhotic dialects of English.
- (chiefly UK, New Zealand, Australia, of a person) Lacking intelligence, sense or understanding; foolish.
- 2015, Adele Abbott, Witch Is When Everything Went Crazy, page 33:
- “Don’t just stand there looking gormless. There’s plenty of work to do in the back.”