The word meanderthal is a combination of “meander” and “Neanderthal”. A Neanderthal is someone who lived in Europe thousands of years ago. When you call someone a “Neanderthal”, what you are implying is that he behaves in an uncivilised manner. As you probably know, the word “meander” has different meanings. When a person meanders, he never gets to the point; he talks aimlessly.

The word can also be used to refer to someone who walks slowly and aimlessly. Therefore when you refer to someone as being a “meanderthal” it could mean one of two things. It could mean someone who walks around slowly and aimlessly. Very often when we are in a hurry, we get stuck behind a meanderthal! A person who talks aimlessly and never gets to the point can also be called a meanderthal. Do not use this word with people you do not know.

The Hindu- ‘Know Your English’ Series, September 20, 2004


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