Share this entry

Share this page


Line breaks: dunce
Pronunciation: /dʌns

Definition of dunce in English:


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.
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


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.

Definition of dunce in:

Share this entry

Share this page


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day sacerdotal
Pronunciation: ˌsasəˈdəʊt(ə)l
relating to priests or the priesthood; priestly