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[stuhl-tuh-fahy] /ˈstʌl təˌfaɪ/
verb (used with object), stultified, stultifying.
to make, or cause to appear, foolish or ridiculous.
to render absurdly or wholly futile or ineffectual, especially by degrading or frustrating means:
Menial work can stultify the mind.
Law. to allege or prove (oneself or another) to be of unsound mind.
Origin of stultify
1760-70; < Late Latin stultificāre, equivalent to Latin stult(us) stupid + -i- -i- + -ficāre -fy
Related forms
stultification, noun
stultifier, noun
stultifyingly, adverb
nonstultification, noun
unstultified, adjective
unstultifying, adjective
2. cripple, impede, frustrate, hinder, thwart. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for stultifying
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • For such is the stultifying effect of a civilized environment.

    The Wreck of the Titan Morgan Robertson
  • The Church is doing wrong, is stultifying herself in encouraging it.

  • Then she considered the weakness, the stultifying nature of her attempt at recall.

    Two on a Tower Thomas Hardy
  • What truly sensitive soul could exist in a stultifying atmosphere like this?

    Once a Greech Evelyn E. Smith
  • Mason felt that he was stultifying his country in condemning slavery.

  • Still he feared that stultifying thing which must have been hate.

    The Rainbow Trail Zane Grey
  • So, though engaged in stultifying occupation through most of her hours, she was able to find food for mental growth.

    Within the Law Marvin Dana
British Dictionary definitions for stultifying


verb (transitive) -fies, -fying, -fied
to make useless, futile, or ineffectual, esp by routine
to cause to appear absurd or inconsistent
to prove (someone) to be of unsound mind and thus not legally responsible
Derived Forms
stultification, noun
stultifier, noun
Word Origin
C18: from Latin stultus stupid + facere to make
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 stultifying



1766, "allege to be of unsound mind" (legal term), from Late Latin stultificare "turn into foolishness," from Latin stultus "foolish" + root of facere "to make" (see factitious). The first element is cognate with Latin stolidus "slow, dull, obtuse" (see stolid). Meaning "cause to appear foolish or absurd" is from 1809.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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