I was sitting at the card table this evening looking gormless (as I am wont to do) when it occurred to me to wonder, are the other players gormful? Is there such a word? Is there such a thing as gorm, that one can either have or lack?

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    Given its derivation from gorm/gaum, one might be able to say "gormful", but the version "have gorm" seems more acceptable (and was afaik also once regularly used).
    – Suvrit
    Dec 31, 2010 at 16:17
  • A post like this would almost seem to be self-contradictory. Either that, or the malady ironically cured itself. :)
    – Kazark
    May 9, 2014 at 22:59
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    I'd go with feckful: merriam-webster.com/dictionary/feckful Jul 23, 2016 at 17:48

2 Answers 2


According to merriam-webster.com, "gormless" does indeed mean "lacking in gorm", which was originally the middle-English word "gaum" or "gome", meaning "understanding, or attention". I would have to say that "gorm" as its own word has fallen out of the modern lexicon, though, and is not at all likely to be understood. (Hopefully someone who can do searches of the Corpus of English Language Texts or the like can provide extra information....)

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    Nor have I ever found gormful in a dictionary, but people usually recognize the intent. I use it only in informal situations. Dec 30, 2010 at 23:20
  • The OED knows no adjective that begins with "gorm-" and means the opposite of "gormless". Dec 31, 2010 at 1:22
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    @Cerberus Why oh why is gormandize already taken?
    – tchrist
    Aug 14, 2012 at 21:21
  • If you’re going to go with a whimsical coinage, why not gorm-packed? Too much? Aug 14, 2012 at 22:59
  • So a gormful person would seem to be the sort of person who is engaged and attentive in a way that denotes a razor sharp understanding of the world and/or the current situation. Dec 26, 2017 at 14:58

Enlightened would be a good antonym for this, as the other answers suggest that Gorm means 'understanding'. Someone full of understanding is enlightened.

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    As per my comment on the answer above I feel the meaning would be more specific. Dec 26, 2017 at 16:07

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