Bryn provided a verifiable example from 1985.
Since the mid-1980s, numpty has been used as a mild term of abuse in Britain. The earliest evidence found by OED researchers is from a 1988 book by Michael Munro, chronicling Glaswegian colloquialisms:
1988 Michael Munro The Patter: Another Blast 50 How is it I get all the numpties in my class?
Were Glaswegians really the first to call people numpties, or did the term exist earlier in other parts of the UK?
The adjective, meaning ‘foolish or idiotic’, appears to have been used first a few years later than the noun, on the TV show Rab C. Nesbitt. Can you help to find evidence for ‘numpty’ before 1988?
Posted by OED_Editor on 30 January 2013 14.34