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33423.  Tue Nov 22, 2005 6:49 am Reply with quote

I'm a bit wary of just stating that the word dunce is derived from the term for followers of the medieval theologian Duns Scotus, because it sounds a bit glib, and I've "known" it for too long to be sure it will stand up to QI scrutiny. Oh, hang on though, the OED's with me. Right, well that's where it comes from. Scotus (so called because he was Scottish, and from the village of Duns; his name was John) seems to have spent most of his academic career (in which he taught at Oxford, probably Cambridge, Paris and Cologne) disagreeing with Thomas Aquinas and Aristotle. At the time, he was known as Doctor Subtilis, being a crafty thinker and in no way a dunce, but by the 16th century, his followers, sometimes called Scotists but usually dunces, had become a byword for entrenched intellectual conservatism, and dunce became an insult, as it remains.

33426.  Tue Nov 22, 2005 6:51 am Reply with quote

go and stand in a corner and wear a pointed hat!

33458.  Tue Nov 22, 2005 7:54 am Reply with quote

I'm a wizard!

"MIND YOUR MANNERS SON! I've got a tall pointy hat!
STATUS, boy! You can argue with me, but you can't argue with status!"

Courtesy of Dave Sim's CEREBUS comics.

33460.  Tue Nov 22, 2005 7:57 am Reply with quote

oo-er that was a bit scary

Mostly Harmless
33463.  Tue Nov 22, 2005 8:02 am Reply with quote


Last edited by Mostly Harmless on Mon Jan 09, 2006 10:15 am; edited 1 time in total

33472.  Tue Nov 22, 2005 8:19 am Reply with quote

Dun means stone fort or castle. As in Dundee and, presumably, Dunstable. This is possibly Maiden Bower but there are a couple of problems, like it's too far South for Dun to be usual and it doesn't appear to be a stone fort.

Beyond that I'm not going to speculate.


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