AskDefine | Define fatuous

Dictionary Definition

fatuous adj : complacently or inanely foolish [syn: asinine, inane, mindless, vacuous]

User Contributed Dictionary



From fatuus.


  • a RP /ˈfæt.ju.əs/
  • a US /ˈfætʃ.u.əs/


  1. Obnoxiously stupid, vacantly silly, content in one's foolishness.

Usage notes

  • Refers especially to foolishness and disregard of reality.


obnoxiously stupid, vacantly silly, content in one's foolishness

Extensive Definition

Stupidity (also called fatuity) is the property a person, action or belief instantiates by virtue of having or being indicative of low intelligence or poor learning abilities. Stupidity is distinct from irrationality because stupidity denotes an incapability or unwillingness to properly consider the relevant information. It is frequently used as a pejorative (e.g. "your baseball cap instantiates stupidity"), and consequently has a negative connotation. The term has fallen out of favor in medical journals as it is seen as a generic term used to describe a wide variety of conditions.

In Politics

Robert J. Sternberg notes that many politicians have acted in ways that were stupid despite indications of general intelligence He argues that there is an inherent psychological drive causing some acts of stupidity.

In Comedy

The fool or buffoon has been a central character in much comedy. Alford and Alford found that humor based on stupidity was prevelent in "more complex" societies as compared to some other forms of humor. Some analysis of Shakespeare's comedy has found that his characters tend to hold mutually contradictory positions; because this implies a lack of careful analysis it indicates stupidity on their part. Today there is a wide array of television shows that showcase stupidity such as The Simpsons .

Group Stupidity

In psychology, group stupidity is known as deindividuation in crowds, and can lead to behaviors usually not displayed outside the specific social situation. The behaviors are attributed to a variety of causes, including loss of self-identity, incentives to conform to group behavior, and other dynamics.


fatuous in Arabic: غباء
fatuous in Danish: Dumhed
fatuous in German: Dummheit
fatuous in Spanish: Tonto
fatuous in Italian: Stupidità
fatuous in Luxembourgish: Dommheet
fatuous in Norwegian: Dumhet
fatuous in Polish: Głupota
fatuous in Portuguese: Estupidez
fatuous in Simple English: Foolish
fatuous in Finnish: Tyhmyys
fatuous in Vietnamese: Ngu
fatuous in Yiddish: שטות
fatuous in Contenese: 傻

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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