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verb (used with object), stul·ti·fied, stul·ti·fy·ing.
  1. to make, or cause to appear, foolish or ridiculous.
  2. to render absurdly or wholly futile or ineffectual, especially by degrading or frustrating means: Menial work can stultify the mind.
  3. Law. to allege or prove (oneself or another) to be of unsound mind.
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Origin of stultify

1760–70; < Late Latin stultificāre, equivalent to Latin stult(us) stupid + -i- -i- + -ficāre -fy
Related formsstul·ti·fi·ca·tion, nounstul·ti·fi·er, nounstul·ti·fy·ing·ly, adverbnon·stul·ti·fi·ca·tion, nounun·stul·ti·fied, adjectiveun·stul·ti·fy·ing, adjective


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Examples from the Web for stultify

Historical Examples

  • But what the privileged orders can no longer prevent, they are determined to stultify.


    Rafael Sabatini

  • I pointed out that time might stultify this selection of a title.


    Ian Hay

  • Providence does not comply with our predictions in order to stultify us.

  • Have I ever done anything to stultify, degrade you, or impair your self-respect?

    Asiatic Breezes

    Oliver Optic

  • Why, it does not run counter to its own sense of taste, or stultify itself.

British Dictionary definitions for stultify


verb -fies, -fying or -fied (tr)
  1. to make useless, futile, or ineffectual, esp by routine
  2. to cause to appear absurd or inconsistent
  3. to prove (someone) to be of unsound mind and thus not legally responsible
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Derived Formsstultification, nounstultifier, 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

Word Origin and History for stultify


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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper