a dunce; blockhead; numbskull.

Origin of dunderhead

1615–25; apparently < Dutch dunder(kop) numbskull (dunder thunder + kop head) + head
Also called dun·der·pate [duhn-der-peyt] /ˈdʌn dərˌpeɪt/.
Related formsdun·der·head·ed, adjectivedun·der·head·ed·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for dunderhead

Historical Examples of dunderhead

  • Well, if ever there was a dunderhead in this world it's me, it sure is.

    Pippin; A Wandering Flame

    Laura E. Richards

  • The maltman's dunderhead son passed it about the ale-house that night.

    Star of Mercia

    Blanche Devereux

  • Look at me, Sariette, old boy, and tell me if I look like a dunderhead.

  • I shall issue an address to the free and independent electors of Dunderhead.


    Laurence Oliphant

  • If she hadn't married that dunderhead she'd have been a happy woman.

    The Squire's Daughter

    Archibald Marshall

British Dictionary definitions for dunderhead



a stupid or slow-witted person; dunceAlso called: dunderpate
Derived Formsdunderheaded, adjectivedunderheadedness, noun

Word Origin for dunderhead

C17: probably from Dutch donder thunder + head; compare blockhead
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

Word Origin and History for dunderhead

1620s, from head (n.); the first element is obscure; perhaps from Middle Dutch doner, donder "to thunder" (cf. blunderbuss).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper