[ duhns ]
/ dʌns /


a dull-witted, stupid, or ignorant person; dolt.

Origin of dunce

1520–30; after John Duns Scotus, whose writings were attacked by the humanists as foolish

Related forms

dun·ci·cal, dunc·ish, adjectivedunc·ish·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for dunce

British Dictionary definitions for dunce


/ (dʌns) /


a person who is stupid or slow to learn

Derived Forms

duncelike, adjective

Word Origin for dunce

C16: from Dunses or Dunsmen, term of ridicule applied to the followers of John Duns Scotus, especially by 16th-century humanists
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