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The Dunce's Tale

In an email to my boss earlier today, I labeled myself a dunce, in reference to a particularly silly suggestion I had made the previous day. It got me thinking about the word "dunce", and its origins. My basic knowledge of Latin and Greek weren't getting me far, so I started on a journey to determine the origins of this word.

As a start, I headed over to
"After Duns Scotus, John whose writings and philosophy were ridiculed in the 16th century."
Hmmm... not really clear at this point. Off to Wikipedia! Upon reading Wikipedia's explanation of the word, it occurred to me that's wording and boldface highlighting were both unclear (looking at it now, I'm not sure why I didn't grasp it). According to Wikipedia, John Duns Scotus was a thirteenth and fourteenth-century (he died in 1308) philosopher and theologian. Followers of Duns Scotus were referred to as "Duns" or "Dunsman" by his opponents, and refused to accept new ideas and new ways of thinking that came about in the sixteenth century. Today, according to Wikipedia, the word "dunce" refers to a person who is incapable of learning. defines it as a stupid person or a dolt.

How about that? I'm willing and able to learn, and am fairly intelligent on most days. It sounds like I may not be a dunce, nor even a fuckhead. What a great start to a Friday!


  1. I did not know that.
    When I pull up Wikipedia and put in the search term "fuckhead", I get this:

  2. I came across the fuckhead entry on because it was listed in with the synonyms for the word. I couldn't resist linking to it :-)

    Interesting note about Wikipedia: they are a tax exempt organization, so if you want to donate to them, your donation is tax-deductible!


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