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Middle English, compare French jobard (gullible, crazy) and noll (head)


jobbernowl (plural jobbernowls)

  1. A person's head, particularly if misshapen or blocky.
    • a 1693, Thomas Urquhart and Peter Anthony Motteux, translators, of François Rabelais, Gargantua and Pantagruel, original published 1532, volume 2 (p. 685 of 2009 BiblioBazaar publication):
      [She...] bathed his jobbernowl thrice in the fountain; then threw a handful of meal on his phiz [...]
    • 1834, William Harrison Ainsworth, Rookwood: a romance, volume 2, Carey, Lea & Blanchard, p. 111:
      His toggery was that of a member of the prize ring – what we now call a “belcher” bound his throat – a spotted fogle bandaged his jobbernowl, and shaded his right peeper, while a white beaver crowned the occiput of the Magus.
    • 1868, William Conant Church, "The Ballad of Sir Ball," The Galaxy, volume 5, p. 329:
      He stood on the backs of his brace of hacks, in equitation foul; / And either donkey wore what seemed a human jobbernowl.
    • 2006, Pamela Aidan, Duty and Desire: A Novel of Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman, Simon and Schuster, p. 266:
      Trenholme groaned softly in the background, eliciting a sharp command from his brother to “shut his jobbernowl.”
  2. A stupid person; a blockhead:
    • 1902, John Kendrick Bangs, Olympian Nights, Harper & brothers publishers, p. 185:
      “And a noodle and a jolt-head; you’re a jobbernowl and a doodle, a maundering mooncalf and a block-headed numps, a gaby and a loon; you’re a Hatter!” I shrieked the last epithet.
    • 1906, Natsume Sōseki, I Am a Cat (p. 189 of 2001 publication by Tuttle Publishing):
      That he pays not the least regard to the requirements of convention marks him out as either a superior soul or a rightdown jobbernowl.
    • 1953, Roger MacDougall, Escapade: a play in three acts, Heinemann, p. 24:
      STELLA: [...] You’re a – a jobbernowl! / JOHN (arrested): A what? / STELLA (reluctantly): Jobbernowl.
    • 1999, Henry Mitchell & Allen Lacy, Henry Mitchell on Gardening, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, p. 79:
      When I discovered I could grow it here — I like to say any jobbernowl can — I was as pleased as a dog with two tails.



  • jobbernowl at OneLook Dictionary Search
  • jobbernowl in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911