With the world so divided at the moment, it seems everyone we talk to has a completely different opinion. I think it’s all very well to have an intelligent conversation. You broaden your outlook. You get to hear another side of the topic.

But sometimes you come across a person who is, well, let’s just say they are not that well-informed. Ok, I mean dumb. But you can’t call someone dumb or stupid. You’ve lost the argument. So are there any other words for dumb that you can use?

Oh yes. Read on dear reader. I’ve found funny words from French, synonyms from Scotland and bon-mots from back in the day.

12 Other Words for Dumb


Meaning – Extremely stupid, idiotic, foolish

Use in a sentence: ‘My father came up with yet another asinine plan to make him a millionaire.’

The word asinine relates to the ass, typically a stupid animal that is stubborn and obstinate.


Meaning – Absurdity, foolery, ridiculous, lunacy, stupidity, imbecility

Use in a sentence: Attempting to dive off Niagara Falls must be considered as the greatest extreme sporting bêtise of all time.

Trust the French to have a classy word for dumb. Bêtise derives from the French wordbête‘ which means beast, animal or stupid. You might have heard of ‘bête-noire’ which translates as the bane of someone’s life.


Meaning – A medical term for a pain in the coccyx

Use in a sentence: ‘He is being a right coccydynia jumping ahead of the queue like that.’

Want a fancy name for calling someone a ‘pain in the butt’? This is a proper medical term for a pain in the tailbone or coccyx. I admit you may want to ask your smart speaker how to pronounce it.


Meaning – Heavy, dull, thick, cloddish, lacking in mental acuity, brainless

Use in a sentence: ‘I’m not surprised at his doltish behaviour, he has a reputation for being dim-witted.’

There are so many ways to call someone dumb, and doltish is a great example. It means lacking the ability to absorb new ideas. So, I guess you are calling someone a bit of a Luddite when you use this word.


Meaning – Fool, idiot, awkward person

Use in a sentence: Send him on a gowk’s errand to teach him a lesson.

This is one of those other words for dumb that derives from Scottish and Northern England. In actual fact, you won’t hear it anywhere else in the world. A gowk is simply a fool.

“Conceited gowk! Puff’d up wi’ windy pride!” Robert Burns


Meaning – Dull, a state of mental lethargy, dopey, inert

Use in a sentence: Her hebetude began to annoy her fellow workers.

Hebetude comes from the Latin word ‘hebetudo‘ which means dullness.


Meaning – A government consisting of the most stupid, least qualified, ignorant members of society

Use in a sentence: Despite having no redeeming qualities, she ruled the office like a kakistocracy.

I love this word. It comes from the Greek word ‘kakistos’ which means bad or worst and the English word ‘cracy’ which denotes a particular form of government.


Meaning – A lack of knowledge, ignorant, clueless, unaware, oblivious

Use in a sentence: We have to address the worrying nescience of the medical profession and the growing rise of mental illnesses.

Nescience is a lovely word with roots in Latin. It comes from the Latin word ‘scire’ which means to know. In fact, our modern word ‘science’ originates from ‘scire’, a word in old English which meant knowledge. However, the Latin prefix ‘ne’ means no. So add it to a word and it means the opposite.


Meaning – An unattractive person (usually a man) who is not very intelligent

Use in a sentence: She finally got rid of her schlub of a husband.

Schlub is a delicious word, isn’t it? I bet most of us have come across a few schlubs in our time. A schlub is a person with little to offer. A pathetic person who no one likes.


Meaning – Uninterested, apathetic, unconcerned, indifferent, incurious, listless

Use in a sentence: You could see his stolid nature by the way he walked.

This is an interesting synonym in that it isn’t quite another word for dumb, however, there are lots of kinds of stupid. So it may well fit the context you’re looking for.

Thick as two short planks

Meaning – Very stupid, incredibly ignorant

Use in a sentence: She might be beautiful but she’s as thick as two short planks.

I had to add this because my dad would use it all the time as another word for dumb or stupid. It is a British saying. Basically, short planks are thicker than longer ones. It’s not rocket science folks!


Meaning – A person who thinks they are witty, someone who feigns wit, a person with no wit.

Use in a sentence: She considers herself quite the raconteur, when in fact she’s a witling.

Witling is an old word that is barely used anymore. However, I like it because it sounds like a compliment and you might be able to fool a narcissist with this word.

Final Thoughts

It’s not nice to call someone stupid. So when you are talking to other people who are really dumb, why not use one of the above words instead!


  1. www.merriam-webster.com

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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Steven Jones

    If i call somebody stupid that would make me stupid!

  2. Candy Terrell

    Dumb means unable to speak. It doesn’t mean stupid.

  3. Jess

    I’m a little less nescience after reading this post

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