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Of uncertain origin. The Oxford English Dictionary writes that it may have been coined (perhaps by J. R. R. Tolkien) around 1910 from the name of T. W. Earp. However, the Dictionary of American Slang writes that it was in use in 1874. It may be a dialectal variant of dwarf (compare Middle English dwerf, Low German Twarg); it may also derive from the onomatopoeic twirp. The word was used to denote a type of racing pigeon that flew between Antwerp and London c. 1870 [see "The Odd Facts of Life" – Bill Hooper, published in 1965]. It may also be related to the Welsh twp, a fool.



twerp (plural twerps)

  1. (UK, colloquial) A fool, a twit.
    Now you've broken it, you twerp!
  2. (US, colloquial, childish) A small or puny person; one regarded as insignificant, contemptible.
    Get out of my way, you little twerp!
  3. (US, colloquial, childish) A person who can be bullied playfully, or easily teased. Sometimes used as a pet-name (often for a younger sibling).


Related terms[edit]