Let’s Bring Back ‘Lurdan’ and Make Laziness Sound Even More Shameful

Updated May 3, 2022
Man mowing lawn while neighbor sleeps as lurdan example
    Man mowing lawn while neighbor sleeps as lurdan example
    Hill Street Studios / DigitalVision / Getty Images
    Used under Getty Images license

Whether it’s a group project in school or a department presentation at work, we’ve all been there: You end up with more than your fair share of the work because one group member didn’t pull their weight. If only there was a name for such a person. Good news — the word lurdan fits your needs perfectly.

Lurdan: A Lazy Layabout

We all know lurdans in our lives. Defined as “a lazy, incompetent person,” a lurdan is that friend you know who constantly mooches but never pays you back. They never want to do anything. You have to come up with all the plans, but then they never want to actually do those plans. They’re messy, inconsiderate, boring, and stubborn. Why are you friends with this person?

You’ve Probably Never Heard of a Lurdan

The word lurdan is an archaic Middle English word, so it’s not exactly part of an everyday conversation in the 21st century. It comes from the Old French words lourd (heavy) and lourdin (dullard). Put them together and you get a heavy dullard. If there’s a better way to describe someone whose laziness is so profound that they’re a drain on the community, we haven’t heard it.


Look Out For Lurdans

Just because lurdan comes from the 15th century doesn’t mean it belongs there. You can make lurdan trend again with a quick “Hey, lurdan!” text, shout or social media comment.

Try the word out on:

  • the roommate who said he’d take out the trash, but then just … didn’t

  • a sibling who owes you money but then goes on a vacation instead

  • your buddy who will totally bring you to the airport next time but right now he really needs a ride

  • the cool kid who needs to copy your homework real quick

  • the driver in front of you who glides across the lanes without warning (it’s called a turn signal, lurdan)

  • your neighbor who claims he just likes his lawn to be waist-high

  • a player on your favorite sports team who can’t seem to get it together in the championship game

Hot tip: Don’t use lurdan to describe customer service employees who displease you. They’re doing their best. If they’re at work at all, they’re already not a lurdan (even if they don’t want to check in the back for you — yes, they really are out of that thing you want).


More Names for the Lurdan in Your Life

Do you like insulting people but feel lurdan is a little limiting? Try out:

  • deadbeat - someone who doesn’t contribute to society

  • fainéant - an ineffective person

  • laggard - someone whose progress is consistently slower than others

  • loafer - a person who avoids work

  • malingerer - someone who fakes illness to avoid work

  • slugabed - a person who stays in bed all day

  • sluggard - someone who is perpetually lazy

  • wastrel - a person who wastes resources and doesn’t work for more

For more oomph, add these adjectives to your rude name of choice:

  • enervated - listless, without energy

  • indolent - avoidant of activity or work

  • lackadaisical - unenthusiastic, without purpose

  • shiftless - lacking ambition

  • slothful - slow to act, eager to relax

  • sluggish - inactive, slow to start

  • torpid - sleepy, lethargic

  • work-shy - unwilling to find work or progress in life


Don’t Be a Lurdan in Language

Being lazy in life is one thing, but being a language lurdan is a crime against vocabulary. Keep your conversation interesting with additional resources.