Rolf Harris :(

Mr D had to explain to me the other day that a nonce was a paedo. I just thought it was similar to calling someone a twat. You live and learn, eh?

I cannot believe how so many people get away with being so goddam awful to other people.

nonce is used in 1980s sitcoms to mean dafty but I am not sure if that's regional variation or scriptwrite naivety

Weird, I had to do the same explanation to Mr B at the weekend when we were talking about the Levi Bellfield case. 

FYI it stands for Not On Normal Communal Exercise and comes from prison officer vernacular. Obviously made its way into common parlance too. 

Bailey I never knew that. ROF is a mine of interesting info.

No can do Martian. I have a 6 week commitment on Tuesday evenings until mid March. Maybe once that’s completed. 

As far as i understand it, nonce used in the way Bailey suggests is a backronym.  It's usage is far older than its more modern prison meaning.

Same as Posh being believed to have come from "port out, starboard home". 

Yeah it began life as nonsense crime - used by other criminals in prison to describe a load of stuff including kiddy fiddling.


I think a lot of people mistakenly think it's a bit like calling someone a ponce.

Withnail & I shout!

"I called him a ponce and now I'm calling you one. PONCE!"

"I have a heart condition, if you  hit me, it's murder...."

"I'll murder the two of yers!"


Isn't a nonce any kind of convicted deviant, and also a convicted woman beater? 

My suggested version of the etymology:-

1. 70s expression used by the cops, per Bailey, to refer to inmates not allowed out because they’re sex offenders.

2. Taken up by The Sweeney, that great resource for common parlance for those of us able to remember it.

3. Taken from the telly into the playground 

4. Meaning broadened as parents didn’t really know what it meant, so kids used it as general term of abuse. 

5. Commandeered by Chris Morris ofc for “Nonce Sense”

*saillaw off*