One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1An incompetent or stupid person.‘a complete duffer at languages’
bungler, blunderer, incompetent, oaf, dunce, dolt, dunderhead, fool, idiot, booby, stupid person, moron, cretin, imbecileView synonyms
- ‘It's just so darned much fun to hear these old duffers talking shop and gossip.’
- ‘It is not as if Bob has ruthlessly ditched loads of old duffers to make way for cutting-edge rock 'n' roll talent.’
- ‘The wife and I are going to beach resort for a couple of weeks and I thought I'd pick up a couple of pointers so as not to look like a complete duffer!’
- ‘Alf was a complete duffer when it came to mechanical things such as refilling a ballpoint pen.’
- ‘If any character ever needed canine companionship, it was the old duffer in that play.’
- ‘The Tories usually have a laughably naff bunch of old duffers to support them and this time was no different with a couple of new kids on the block.’
- ‘Having queued in order to buy a paper, some old duffer just walks in front of me in order to get served.’
- ‘By now, you're saying to yourself, who is this whining old duffer?’
- ‘It's very exciting even for an old duffer like me.’
- ‘Well it's forty-eight hours on, and Lisa and I have successfully settled into our new life and formed a love triangle with a white-haired old duffer called Oscar.’
- ‘He made him a life peer in 1998 along with a whole load of other buddies once he'd shipped out some of the old duffers with legislative reform.’
- ‘For some reason, no matter which production I watch, I'm happy during the first three acts but the minute the old duffer stalks the moors in the storm, I'm lost.’
- ‘We're just a friendly bunch of old duffers who like getting together every now and then, and having a laugh.’
- ‘This is probably because she's been lumped with the 25 and over category of performers - easily the worst group, as it's full of mental old duffers who all share the knowledge that this is their very last chance to make a success of themselves.’
- ‘I am not some old duffer who wants to spoil your fun.’
- ‘The two men, patriarchs of the most powerful families in American politics, have been mucking around on boats this week, playing endless rounds of golf and cracking jokes like any pair of genial old duffers.’
- ‘Don't you think something should be done about it, or at least tell the old duffers to stop making fools of themselves?’
- ‘He is the lovable old duffer with the frantic, ants-in-the-pants commentating style.’
- ‘The doors opened and two aged citizens emerged, a withered old crow and a thin old duffer.’
- ‘But to give the old duffer his due, he isn't the first to attempt such a blatantly bloodsucking sonic hook-up.’
2Australian NZ An unproductive mine.
Mid 19th century: from Scots dowfart ‘stupid person’, from douf ‘spiritless’.
A person who steals and alters the brands on cattle.
- ‘Hundreds have gone missing - but police stock squad troopers are not mounting their thoroughbreds to give chase to the duffers.’
Mid 19th century: of unknown origin; in use earlier as thieves' slang for ‘someone who sells trashy articles as if they were valuable’.
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