Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Chump - If the Nitwit Cap Fits ...

Film poster of "A Chump at Oxford" with Laurel and Hardy
Laurel or Hardy - who was the bigger chump?


Noun. Early 18th century.
[Perhaps a blend of CHUNK noun and LUMP noun or STUMP noun.]

1 A short thick lump of wood; an end-piece. E18

2 The thick end, especially of a loin of lamb or mutton. M19

3 The head. colloquial. M19

4 A foolish person, a blockhead. colloquial. L19

off one's chump crazy, wild with excitement, etc.
chump change colloquial (chiefly N.American) a small of insignificant amount of money.
chump chop a chop from the chump end.
chump end the thick end of a loin of lamb or mutton.

A portrait of Stan Laurel
Stan Laurel

Your presence here on this page must be proof that you’re far from stupid, but are you a bit of a chump?

Was the splash as you drove across the canal bridge your first intimation that you’d left your phone on top of the car again?

Was it you who neglected to close the door of the hamster’s cage properly?

Hey, and who was it who was discovered in the loos at the airport, inexpertly applying lipstick and wearing a newly-bought kaftan, after mistakenly leaving home with the wife’s passport?

Is this sounding familiar at all?

If it does, then console yourself with the knowledge that you’re part of a long and international tradition of chumpfulness. There was Teruo Nakamura, soldier of the Imperial Japanese Army, who failed so completely to keep up with current affairs that he was still fighting World War II in 1974.

Then there was the bunch at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, which held an exhibition in 1968 in Harrogate, England where the entire display fell down.

And, remarkable even amongst these prize chumps, must be the burglar who protected himself against dog bites by wearing a suit of armour, only to wake up his victims with all the clanking.

Ah well, there are worse things than being a chump. You could be an ex-chump, for instance, like poor Sérgio A. Rosa, who decided it would be a good idea to mend a hole in a gas tanker with a welding iron.

A portrait of Oliver Hardy
Oliver Hardy

Do you have any examples of exquisite chumpery?

Are you a chump?

Or are you perfectly sensible?

Hint: you can generally tell which you are by the number of people who hold you in affection.

Sally Prue
The Word Den


  1. I remember the kitchen sink waste getting blocked, so I put a bowl under the sink and unscrewed the U trap. I then transferred the bowl and the trap into the sink and washed all the gunge out with water from the tap. Having cleaned out the trap, the first thing I did was empty all the dirty water from the bowl into the sink. What a chump!

    1. That is very, very Laurel and Hardy! I can just see it ...

      "Oooooogh ... now where is all this dirty water coming from?"

  2. One of the best articles that I’ve read in a very long time! I Took notes and surely gonna implement and test bunch of stuff you talked about.
    You’re a beast! Cheers, Ash
    And don't forget to visit Besttoolsbrand