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Old 21 October 2013, 10:58 PM
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Mateus Mateus is offline
 
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Canada 'Nimrod' means dumb because of Bugs Bunny?

I heard this from a friend today: before the 1930s, the word "Nimrod" didn't mean a dimwit or moron. But a Bugs Bunny cartoon-- featuring Elmer Fudd in his role as wabbit hunter-- changed that. Bugs Bunny saw Elmer coming after him, and says something to the effect of, "check out this Nimrod." Now, Nimrod was a mighty hunter in ancient legends (including the Bible), but kids who saw this cartoon were (mostly) unaware of the reference. They thought that "Nimrod" was a general insult instead of a sarcastic comparative reference, and started using "nimrod" as a slang term for stupid, and it's seeped into our culture as such.

Now, I found this through the Wikipedia page for Nimrod, but I haven't seen the cartoon in question, and I've only found the one (credible) reference. It sounds kinda ULish to me, and so I was wondering if anyone else knew or could verify this story.
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  #2  
Old 22 October 2013, 12:52 AM
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There's definitely at least one Bugs Bunny/Elmer Fudd cartoon in which Bugs refers to another character as "Nimrod." And, yes, Nimrod was a biblical hunter.
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  #3  
Old 22 October 2013, 01:38 AM
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Little Pink Pill Little Pink Pill is offline
 
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This etymology dictionary calls the bugs bunny theory "amateur," but doesn't seem to have specific evidence to back up other proposals for the shift in meaning.
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Old 22 October 2013, 02:46 AM
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Rabbit

None of three amateur theories listed for this word have any good confirming evidence, including the Loony Tunes explanation.
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  #5  
Old 23 October 2013, 01:46 AM
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It's not easily answered.

The OED lists the first cite by Ben Hecht in 1933. Bugs Bunny did not exist at that time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OED
1933 B. Hecht & G. Fowler Great Magoo iii. i. 183 He's in love with her. That makes about the tenth. The same old Nimrod. Won't let her alone for a second.
However, the next cite is not until 1963, after Bugs (and the cartoon when he used it). It's possible that Hecht's use was a nonce usage; certainly it's unclear from the quote that meaning is "idiot." And many more people would have been familiar with Bugs using it than Ben Hecht.
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Old 23 October 2013, 03:28 AM
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ganzfeld ganzfeld is offline
 
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Rabbit

I don't see how the first one is different from the older meaning of someone hopelessly addicted to hunting. (Which may be the meaning in BB as well.)
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