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dunce

Line breaks: dunce
Pronunciation: /dʌns
 
/

Definition of dunce in English:

noun

A person who is slow at learning; a stupid person: he was baffled by arithmetic and they called him a dunce at school
More example sentences
  • 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 an air-headed dunce.
Synonyms
British informal wally, numpty, berk, twerp, twonk, divvy, nit, mug, pillock, wazzock, silly billy
North American informal doofus, goof, goofball, schmuck, putz, bozo, boob, lamer, lummox, turkey, wing nut
Australian/New Zealand informal galah, drongo, dingbat
British vulgar slang knobhead
North American vulgar slang asshat

Origin

early 16th century: originally an epithet for a follower of John Duns Scotus ( see Duns Scotus, John), whose followers were ridiculed by 16th-century humanists and reformers as enemies of learning.

More
  • 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 dunce

once

Definition of dunce in:

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