While researching something unrelated I found this entry on Etymonline:

an idiot sometimes became a nidiot, which, with still-common casual pronunciation, became nidget, which, alas, has not survived.

(emphasis mine)

Is it true that the "nidget" has not survived?

Friends of mine from Dublin and Liverpool (both sadly long dead, so I cannot ask them) used to use the word, I am quite sure, with regularity when discussing the deficiencies of neighbours, relatives, and most often, politicians.

Ngrams shows little usage of the word in the last 200 years, and most hits on Google books go back to the 19th century.

Are there some dialects that still make use of this variant of an idiot, or have I outlived yet another word?

  • 3
    Did they really use nidget? As in "That nidget"? Or was it merely "He's a nidget," which was probably an eejit? – Andrew Leach Dec 22 '16 at 12:46
  • 1
    The graphic form may not have survived, but its spirit lives on in "an idjot" with a J – P. O. Dec 22 '16 at 12:53
  • 1
    eejit/idjot is still used in American dialect – John Feltz Dec 22 '16 at 13:06
  • 1
    Maybe the right question should have been "How many ways can idiot be pronounced in English?" – Cascabel Dec 22 '16 at 13:12
  • 1
    ...and a nidget, or nigeot, is no more than an idiot, carelessly spoken; and that is its exact meaning: books.google.it/… – user66974 Dec 22 '16 at 13:33

According to Google Trends, it is still alive, but dying:

enter image description here


  • Surely a bloomin' nidget can never die! But those red minidgets I bet are goners for sure. – tchrist Mar 10 '17 at 5:51

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.