One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
nounScottish, Northern English
1An awkward or foolish person (often used as a general term of abuse).
idiot, ass, halfwit, nincompoop, blockhead, buffoon, dunce, dolt, ignoramus, cretin, imbecile, dullard, moron, simpleton, clodView synonyms
- ‘You can find a gowk and send him off to get an unobtainable item (like striped paint or a one-ended stick).’
- ‘The victim of a joke is known in English as an April Fool; in Scots as a gowk (cuckoo or fool); and in French as a poisson d' avril.’
Middle English (in gowk (sense 2)): from Old Norse gaukr.
An apple core.‘I leave the gowk —don't want an apple tree growing inside me’‘I found an apple gowk in my coat pocket’
Early 19th century: origin uncertain.
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