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See also: Noddy



  • IPA(key): /ˈnɒdi/
  • (file)

Etymology 1[edit]

Probably a shortening of noddypoll, an obsolete alteration of hoddypoll (fumbling inept person).


noddy (plural noddies)

  1. A stupid or silly person.
    • 1628, Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy, Oxford: Henry Cripps, 3rd edition, Part I, Section 2, Member 4, Subsection 4, p. 142,[1]
      Leo Decimus [] made [] soft fellowes, starke noddies; and such as we[r]e foolish, quite mad before hee left them.
    • 1679, Roger L’Estrange, Answer to the Appeal from the Country to the City[2], London: Henry Brome, page 25:
      Were not Those blessed days when our Divines had Salesmen, and Mechaniques for their Tryers; and the Laity a supercilious Company of Classical, and Congregational Noddys for the Inspectours of our Lives and Manners []
    • 1795, Hannah Cowley, The Town Before You, A Comedy, London: T.N. Longman, Act V, p. 84,[3]
      Why, what a noddy have I been, to take this strapper always for a girl!
    • 1823 July 15, [Lord Byron], Don Juan. Cantos VI.—VII.—and VIII., London: [] [C. H. Reynell] for John Hunt, [], →OCLC, canto VII, stanza 21:
      [] I am but a simple noddy []
    • 1842, Robert Browning, “The Pied Piper of Hamelin” in Cavalier Tunes, The Lost Leader and Other Poems, Boston: Educational Publishing Company, 1906, Stanza III, lines 21-23, p. 21,[4]
      At last the people in a body
      To the Town Hall came flocking;
      “’Tis clear,” cried they, “our Mayor’s a noddy; []

Etymology 2[edit]

nod +‎ -y?


noddy (plural noddies)

  1. Any of several stout-bodied, gregarious terns of the genera Anous and Procelsterna, found in tropical seas.
    • 1703, William Dampier, A Voyage to New Holland[5], volume 3, London: James Knapton, page 142:
      We saw no Land this day, but saw a great many Snakes and some Whales. We saw also some Boobies, and Noddy-birds; and in the night caught one of these last. [] The Top or Crown of the Head of this Noddy was Coal-black, having also small black streaks round about and close to the Eyes; and round these streaks on each side, a pretty broad white circle. The Breast, Belly, and under-part of the Wings of this Noddy were white: and the Back and upper-part of its Wings of a faint black or smoak Colour.
    • 1724, Daniel Defoe, A General History of the Pyrates, London: T. Warner, 2nd edition, Chapter 9, p. 195,[6]
      The Rocks and outer Lines of the Island, are the Haunts of variety of Sea-Birds, especially Boobies and Noddies [] . The Noddies are smaller and flat footed also.
    • 1792, William Bligh, chapter XV, in A Voyage to the South Sea, [] in His Majesty’s Ship The Bounty, [], London: [] George Nicol, [], →OCLC, page 194:
      At noon ſome noddies came ſo near to us, that one of them was caught by hand. This bird was about the ſize of a ſmall pigeon. I divided it, with its entrails, into 18 portions, and by a well-known method at ſea, of, Who ſhall have this? it was diſtributed, with the allowance of bread and water for dinner, and eat up bones and all, with ſalt water for ſauce.
    • 1839, Robert FitzRoy; Phillip Parker King; Charles Darwin, chapter 1, in Narrative of the Surveying Voyages of His Majesty’s Ships Adventure and Beagle, between the Years 1826 and 1836, [], volume (please specify |volume=I to III), London: Henry Colburn, [], →OCLC:
      We found on St. Paul’s only two kinds of birds—the booby and the noddy. The former is a species of gannet, and the latter a tern. Both are of a tame and stupid disposition, and are so unaccustomed to visitors, that I could have killed any number of them with my geological hammer.
    • 1933, Charles Nordhoff; James Norman Hall, chapter 1, in Pitcairn’s Island[7]:
      A cloud of sea birds hovered overhead, the gannets diving with folded wings, while the black noddy-terns fluttered down in companies each time the fish drove the small fry to the surface.
  2. (dated) A small two-wheeled vehicle drawn by a single horse.
    • 1783, Charles Macklin, The True-Born Irishman: or, Irish Fine Lady, Dublin, Act I, p. 8,[8]
      Coun[sellor]. What do you mean by a new language?
      O’Dogh[erty]. Why a new kind of a London English, that’s no more like our Irish English, than a coxcomb’ fine gilded chariot like a Glassmanogue noddy.
    • 1863, Sheridan Le Fanu, The House by the Churchyard:
      'By Jove, I think one of us must go into town. [] '
      'Let's see Nutter—you or I must go—we'll take one of these songster's "noddies."'
  3. An inverted pendulum consisting of a short vertical flat spring which supports a rod having a bob at the top; used for detecting and measuring slight horizontal vibrations of a body to which it is attached.
  4. (obsolete, uncountable) An old card game.
    • 1616, Ben Jonson, “Love Restored”, in The Works of Ben Jonson[9], London: H. Herringman et al., published 1692, page 371:
      Let ’hem embrace more frugal pastimes. Why should not the thrifty and right worshipful game of Post and Pair content ’hem? Or the witty invention of Noddie, for counters? or God make them rich, at the Tables? but Masking, and Revelling?
    • 1847, James Orchard Halliwell, Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial Words[10], volume 2, London: John Russell Smith, page 579:
      NODDY. An old game of cards conjectured to be the same as cribbage.
A grey noddy
Derived terms[edit]
English Wikipedia has an article on:

Etymology 3[edit]

nod +‎ -y, coined by John Fiske in 1987.


noddy (plural noddies)

  1. (television) A cutaway scene of a television interviewer nodding, used to cover an editing gap in an interview.
    Synonym: nodder
    Noddies are often filmed after the interview in question has finished.


  • Webster's Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary, Springfield, Massachusetts, G.&C. Merriam Co., 1967