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Etymology 1[edit]


  • from gorm (fool; one who is undiscerning) +‎ -y (suffix forming adjectives meaning ‘having the quality of’);[1] or
  • a variant of gaumy (awkward), from gaum (to stare idly or vacantly; to gape, gaze; to be awkward or stupid; a lout; a gaping, idle fellow)[2] + -y.


gormy (not comparable)

  1. (British, chiefly Northern England, US, chiefly New England) Awkward, clumsy, klutzy, ungainly.
    Synonym: gorming
    • 1990, John Gould, There Goes Maine!: A Somewhat History, Sort of, of the Pine Tree State, New York, N.Y.: Norton, →ISBN, page 1187:
      And not always with finesse — the Lombard clanked and churned, and a man who is like a regular Lombard may be a bit gormy and sometimes apply brute strength when he might do the work easier if he'd stop and think a little.
    • 1990, Maurice Shadbolt, Monday’s Warriors: [], Auckland: Hodder & Stoughton, →ISBN, page 5:
      Kimball was never one to argue with a comrade's eyes and ears, not even those of a gormy jeezer like Connolly.
    • 2009, Stephen King, chapter 23, in Under the Dome: [], New York, N.Y.: Scribner, →ISBN, page 682:
      The Killian boy was carrying a chair, and making difficulties with it; he was what old-time Yankees would have called "a gormy lad."
    • 2010 March, Pat Cunningham, chapter 4, in A London Werewolf in America, [Austin, Tex.]: Siren-BookStrand, →ISBN, page 32:
      Just the sort of place gormy Eugene would pick to hold a family get-together.
Related terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From gorm, gaum (to smear; grime (noun)) +‎ -y.[3]


gormy (not comparable)

  1. (British, US, chiefly Southern US) Alternative spelling of gaumy (sticky, smeared with something sticky; grimy)
    • 1914, Edward [Henry] Peple, The Prince Chap: A Comedy in Three Acts, New York, N.Y., London: Samuel French, →OCLC, act II, page 50:
      The first thing you have got to do is to wash them gormy 'ands [...]
    • 1916 June 22, Abigail Clarke, quoting Edward Everett Hale, “Edward Everett Hale at Harvard College. IV. (1835–39.)”, in The Christian Register, volume 95, number 25, Boston, Mass.: Christian Register Association, →OCLC, page 583, column 1:
      When I bought my tamarinds I eat one or two and then discovered that I had left my handkerchief at home, my hands were a little gormy, so I washed them in Frog Pond.


  1. ^ gorm, n.”, in OED Online Paid subscription required, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, 1972.
  2. ^ Joseph Wright, editor (1900), “GAUM, v.4 and sb.3”, in The English Dialect Dictionary: [], volumes II (D–G), London: Henry Frowde, [], publisher to the English Dialect Society, []; New York, N.Y.: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, →OCLC, page 578, column 1.
  3. ^ Compare B[ennett] W[ood] Green (1899) Word-book of Virginia Folk-speech, Richmond, Va.: W[illia]m Ellis Jones, [], →OCLC, page 165:Gormy, adj. Smeary; sticky. Gaumy.

Further reading[edit]