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March 4, 2004

Slang of the Week: nimrod (noun)
An idiot and/or social misfit

Since Jane’s boss was a real nimrod, he didn’t notice when she replaced his morning coffee with mud.

Celebrity quote:
“Jules, if you give that fuckin' nimrod fifteen hundred dollars, I'm gonna shoot him on general principles.”
- John Travolta (as Vincent Vega) in Pulp Fiction

In the Bible, Nimrod was “a mighty hunter,” and until the 20th century, this word could still be found describing hunters in a positive way. But that was before Looney Tunes, when popular culture changed his name from a compliment to an insult.

In 1938, cartoon character Bugs Bunny was introduced as the tormentor of unsuccessful hunter Elmer Fudd. Originally a small white rabbit, by 1940, he had become the large, gray, drag-wearing bunny we know and love. By that time, he had also begun to use his trademark phrases, such as “What’s up, doc?” and “Of course, you know this means war.”

Bugs typically called Fudd a “poor little Nimrod”, an ironic take on the mighty hunter. Since then, nimrod has been used primarily in the slang sense, demeaning the biblical character. If he were alive today, he would probably want to quote Bugs’ friend Daffy Duck, and say, “I've never be so humiliated in all my life!”

What’s new at Slang City?
Does God use slang? In Ask AC, Robert C. has a question about the Doonesbury political cartoon strip.