- I'm such a dunce walking into a stupid place like this but its not like they could identify me.
- But depression returned when we kept thinking it was dominated by ignorant dunces.
- And I think I can say, with all fairness, that the management thinks I'm a dunce.
Early 16th century: originally an epithet for a follower of John Duns Scotus (Duns Scotus, John), whose followers were ridiculed by 16th-century humanists and reformers as enemies of learning.
In the Middle Ages the Scottish 13th-century theologian and scholar John Duns Scotus was a profoundly influential figure. His works were university textbooks, and his followers so numerous that they had a name, Scotists. But from the 16th century the Scotists' views became old-fashioned and they were attacked and ridiculed, especially for making unnecessarily fine distinctions. The Scotists acquired a new name: Dunsmen or Dunses. A Duns was a ‘hair-splitter’, ‘a dull pedant’, and ‘a person who is slow at learning’. The last is the sense of dunce which survives to this day.
Words that rhyme with dunceonce
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