What does dunce mean?

Definitions for dunce

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word dunce.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. dunce, dunderhead, numskull, blockhead, bonehead, lunkhead, hammerhead, knucklehead, loggerhead, muttonhead, shithead, dumbass, fuckheadnoun

    a stupid person; these words are used to express a low opinion of someone's intelligence


  1. duncenoun

    One backward in book learning; a child or other person dull or weak in intellect; a dullard; a dolt.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Duncenoun

    A dullard; a dolt; a thickskul; a stupid indocile animal.

    Etymology: A word of uncertain etymology; perhaps from dum, the Dutch stupid.

    Dunce at the best; in streets but scarce allow’d,
    To tickle, on thy straw, the stupid crowd. John Dryden, Virgil.

    Was Epiphanius so great a dunce to imagine a thing, indifferent in itself, should be directly opposite to the law of God? Edward Stillingfleet.

    I never knew this town without dunces of figure, who had credit enough to give rise to some new word. Jonathan Swift.


  1. Dunce

    Dunce is a mild insult in English meaning "a person who is slow at learning or stupid". The etymology given by Richard Stanyhurst is that the word is derived from the name of the Scottish Scholastic theologian and philosopher John Duns Scotus.


  1. dunce

    A dunce is a person who is considered slow at learning, lacking in education or intellectual ability, or incompetent. It is often used in a derogatory manner to ridicule or insult someone for their perceived stupidity or ignorance.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Duncenoun

    one backward in book learning; a child or other person dull or weak in intellect; a dullard; a dolt

  2. Etymology: [From Joannes Duns Scotus, a schoolman called the Subtle Doctor, who died in 1308. Originally in the phrase a Duns man. See Note below.]


  1. Dunce

    A dunce is a person considered to be incapable of learning. The word is derived from the name of the Scholastic theologian and philosopher John Duns Scotus, also referred to as Doctor Subtillis, or "Subtle Doctor", whose works on logic, theology and philosophy were accepted textbooks in the universities from the 14th century. Duns or Dunsman was a name applied by early opponents to the followers of Duns Scotus, who were less disparagingly called the Scotists. When, in the 16th century, the Scotists obstinately opposed the new learning, the term duns or dunce became, in the mouths of the Protestants a term of abuse, a synonym for one incapable of scholarship. Dunces are often comedically shown wearing paper cone hats, known as dunce caps, with the word "dunce" or "dumb", or simply a capitalized "D" on them. Schoolchildren were sometimes compelled to wear a dunce cap and to sit on a stool in the corner as a form of humiliating punishment for misbehaving or for failing to demonstrate that they had properly performed their studies.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Dunce

    duns, n. one slow at learning: a stupid person.—ns. Dunce′dom, the class of dunces; Dun′cery, stupidity; Dun′ciad, the epic of dunces, the world of dunces—name of a famous poem by Pope.—adjs. Dun′cish, Dunce′-like. [Duns Scotus (died 1308), the Subtle Doctor, leader of the schoolmen, from him called Dunses, who opposed classical studies on the revival of learning—hence any opposer of learning, a blockhead.]

Etymology and Origins

  1. Dunce

    From John Duns Scotus, who, it is said, gave no proof of his remarkable attainments in his early scholastic days.

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  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of dunce in Chaldean Numerology is: 5

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of dunce in Pythagorean Numerology is: 2

Examples of dunce in a Sentence

  1. Lisa Haisha:

    The Joker is a powerful archetype: They are the jester, the dunce, the trickster, and the shape-shifter.

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Translations for dunce

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"dunce." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 28 May 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/dunce>.

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