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Frederick The Monk
57629.  Tue Mar 07, 2006 5:18 am Reply with quote

Question: So who's the daftest - Alan or Mike Tyson?

Forfeits: Mike Tyson

Answer: Alan is certainly the more daft. And probably a lot sadder too.

Notes: Daft in its original Anglo-Saxon form meant 'gentle'.

O.E. gedæfte "gentle, becoming," from P.Gmc. *gadaftjaz. Sense progression from "mildness" to "dullness" (14c.) to "foolish" (15c.) to "crazy" (1536), probably influenced by analogy with daffe "halfwit."

Jailbird Mike Tyson could certainly never be called 'gentle'. His boxing record stands at 50 wins, 6 losses and 2 no contests, with 44 knockout wins.

There might be some more debate about who was saddest however. one of the Middle English meanings of the word is 'wise' - hence juries were said to consist of " 12 sad men" - and whilst 'Iron Mike' Tyson has failed to make a huge impact on the world of academe he was granted an honorary doctorate in Humane Letters from Central State University in Ohio in 1989 amid howls of complaint from the academic community who felt their own (earned) doctorates were a touch cheapened by this.

Alan might be daft but he's not a dunce. Dunces were originally followers of John Duns Scotus (he took the name from his birthplace - Duns, west of Berwick). Duns Scotus (c.1266 - 1308) was one of the most important Franciscan theologians of the mediaeval period. Despite being a dunce he, like Mike Tyson, was a doctor - he was known as Doctor Subtilis because of his subtle merging of differing views. He was beatified in 1993 by Pope John Paul II.

Links to: Doctorates/ Dimwits/ Dunces


Pictures/Props: Dunces' caps

Researcher: JP

62068.  Mon Mar 27, 2006 9:02 am Reply with quote

One of the definitions under daft in Chamber’s seems quite promising:

“daft days (Scot.) the period of festivity and leisure at Christmas and New Year: the carefree days of one’s youth.”

Hence: “Alan - what did you do during your daft days?”

Or for the Christmas Special, if there’s a Scottish panellist on: “Where are you going to be spending your daft days this year, Arnold?”


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