from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Slang A person regarded as insignificant and contemptible.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A fool, a twit.
  • n. A small or puny person; one regarded as insignificant, contemptible.
  • n. A person who can be bullied playfully, or easily teased. Sometimes used as a pet-name (often for a younger sibling).

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. someone who is regarded as contemptible


Origin unknown.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Of uncertain origin. The Oxford English Dictionary writes that it may have been coined (perhaps by J. R. R. Tolkien) around 1910 from the name of T. W. Earp. However, the Dictionary of American Slang writes that it was in use in 1874. It may be a form of dwarf (compare Middle English dwerf, Low German Twarg). It may derive from the onomatopoeia twirp. The word was used to denote a type of racing pigeon that flew between Antwerp and London c. 1870 [see "The Odd Facts of Life" – Bill Hooper, published in 1965]. (Wiktionary)



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