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[duhn-der-hed] /ˈdʌn dərˌhɛd/
a dunce; blockhead; numbskull.
Also called dunderpate
[duhn-der-peyt] /ˈdʌn dərˌpeɪt/ (Show IPA)
Origin of dunderhead
1615-25; apparently < Dutch dunder(kop) numbskull (dunder thunder + kop head) + head
Related forms
dunderheaded, adjective
dunderheadedness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for dunderhead
Historical Examples
  • I shall issue an address to the free and independent electors of dunderhead.

    Piccadilly Laurence Oliphant
  • Look at me, Sariette, old boy, and tell me if I look like a dunderhead.

    The Revolt of the Angels Anatole France
  • "Aniutka has forced her whelps on me, and now this dunderhead is coming here," she pondered deeply.

    A Family of Noblemen Mikhal Saltykov
  • There is TOM, the dunderhead, who is always sleepy and he will put that down about him.

  • He who would convince the worthy Mr. dunderhead of any truth which dunderhead does not see, must be a master of his art.

    The Verbalist Thomas Embly Osmun, (AKA Alfred Ayres)
  • Because I'm not fool enough to believe that story—and not dunderhead enough to be taken in by a practical joke.

  • Well, if ever there was a dunderhead in this world it's me, it sure is.

    Pippin; A Wandering Flame Laura E. Richards
  • "The magazines are aft, you dunderhead," Joe Kivelson told him, shoving himself to his feet.

    Four-Day Planet Henry Beam Piper
  • "Well, you are a dunderhead to take a joke like that for sober earnest," said Jost, bursting into a loud laugh.

    Veronica And Other Friends Johanna (Heusser) Spyri
  • A dunderhead, say the folk, can cotch fish; but it takes a man t find un.

    Dr. Grenfell's Parish Norman Duncan
British Dictionary definitions for dunderhead


a stupid or slow-witted person; dunce Also called dunderpate
Derived Forms
dunderheaded, adjective
dunderheadedness, noun
Word Origin
C17: probably from Dutch donder thunder + head; compare blockhead
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for dunderhead

1620s, from head (n.); the first element is obscure; perhaps from Middle Dutch doner, donder "to thunder" (cf. blunderbuss).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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