Thursday, 25 June 2009


Scotland's favourite word, according to a poll by BT Openreach, is numpty. Derived from "numps", an obsolete word for a stupid person, rather than the more obvious numbnuts or numbskull, the term implies general idiocy, often in my experience accompanied by windbaggery. Which explains why you will most often find it used in connection with members of the Scottish Parliament.

But numpty is a multi-purpose word, with great flexibility - my husband, for example, calls me "numpty-noo", an affectionate variation (I hope). With its plosive "p", it is a word capable of withstanding being hurled across football terraces - "Heid tha ball, ya useless nuuuuumpties!" - or gently remonstrating with a small child -"I know you didn't mean tae forget your gym kit, Hamish, but you'll look a right numpty in your vest and pants and nae mistake."


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