a dull-witted, stupid, or ignorant person; dolt.

1520–30; after John Duns Scotus, whose writings were attacked by the humanists as foolish

duncical, duncish, adjective
duncishly, adverb

dullard, numbskull, blockhead, ignoramus, simpleton, nincompoop, ninny.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To duncical
World English Dictionary
dunce (dʌns)
a person who is stupid or slow to learn
[C16: from Dunses or Dunsmen, term of ridicule applied to the followers of John Duns Scotus, especially by 16th-century humanists]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

1577, from earlier Duns disciple "follower of John Duns Scotus" (c. 1265-1308), Scot. scholar of philosophy and theology supposed to have been born at Duns in Berwickshire. By 16c., humanist reaction against medieval theology singled him out as the type of the hairsplitting scholastic. It became a term
of reproach to more conservative philosophical opponents c.1527, later extended to any dull-witted student.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Related Words
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature