Biblically speaking, a nimrod is a "great hunter". In Genesis 10, he's described as a "mighty hunter before the Lord", and this definition still prevails in some other English-speaking countries. However, in America, a nimrod is an "idiot", a "maladroit". How did this happen? It can all be attributed to Bugs Bunny! In one cartoon, he called Elmer Fudd (the lisping man who's perpetually trying to shoot him) a "nimrod". This was meant ironically at first; Bugs was joking that Fudd was actually a skilled hunter. However, people watching the show in America who weren't well versed in the Bible took it as an obscure insult, and began using it as such. Thus a great shift began; but where does the Biblical word nimrod come from? The truth is that there is no good answers. It has cognates in Aramaic and Arabic, so it's presumably of Proto-Semitic origin, but that's all we can glean.
Hello! I'm Adam Aleksic, a senior studying government and linguistics at Harvard University, where I co-founded the Harvard Undergraduate Linguistics Society. In addition to etymology, I also really enjoy trivia, politics, vexillology, geography, board games, conlanging, art history, and law.