there's nobody home

there's nobody home

Said of someone whom one thinks is dimwitted or mentally impaired. I've been trying to get information from him for half an hour, but there's nobody home as far as I can tell. She's sweet and very attractive, but there's nobody home when you try to discuss any serious topic.
See also: home, nobody

There's nobody home.

There are no brains in someone's head. There's lots of goodwill in that head, but there's nobody home. What a fool! There's nobody home—that's for sure.
See also: home, nobody

nobody home

1. No one is paying attention, as in She threw the ball right past him, yelling "Nobody home!"
2. The person being discussed is mentally impaired and so cannot understand, as in When the woman did not answer, he concluded it was a case of nobody home. Both usages transfer the absence of someone in a dwelling to absent-mindedness or mental deficiency, and are thought to have been invented by cartoonist and journalist Thomas Aloysius Dorgan ("TAD") around 1900. He often embellished his column with such punning amplifications as "Nobody home but the telephone and that's in the hands of the receiver," or "Nobody home but the oyster and that's in the stew."
See also: home, nobody
References in periodicals archive ?
We used to say about folk acting daft: "The lights are on but there's nobody home.
STORMONT'S lights may be turned off to save the planet - but many say there's nobody home anyway.
The lights are STILL on - even though there's nobody home.
IT'S often said of Leinster House that the lights may be on but there's nobody home.
But if the new Impala, 2001 Olds Aurora and midsize Saturn are indicators, there's nobody home at GM Design.
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