More than 2,000 Brits were asked to choose their favourite from a shortlist chosen from the 16,500 words in the Cambridge English Dictionary.
The survey found 13% of respondents chose "nincompoop" which is believed to be derived from the Latin "non compos mentis", meaning not of sound mind.
The poll was commissioned by Ubisoft, makers of the language computer game My Word Search.
The second most popular word was "love" and the third was "mum".
Ubisoft spokesman Mike Masuku said: "The results demonstrate our passion for language and the sentiment we attach to words such as love and mum.
"It also highlights how narrow most people's vocabulary has become."