nitwit

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English[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology[edit]

First attested in the 1910s in the US Northeast. Likely from German nit, dialectal form of nichts ‎(nothing), or Yiddish ניט ‎(nit), dialectal form of נישט ‎(nisht, no), although some dictionaries give the alternative etymology nit ‎(louse egg; something very small) +‎ wit.

Noun[edit]

nitwit ‎(plural nitwits)

  1. A scatterbrained or stupid person.
    • 1918, State Bar Association of Connecticut, Annual Report, page 82
      If you don't remember you are a nitwit. If you do answer, well you know what the penalty is for perjury.
    • 1921, Emmett Campbell Hall, "Need a Hero be a Nitwit?", The Editor, page 58
    • 1922, Nina Wilcox Putnam, Laughter Inc
      "Don't be a nitwit, honey!" says Adele. "Here, let me open the door! Ma be I did leave them lights on, though it ain't ike me!"

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