fat·​u·​ous | \ ˈfa-chü-əs How to pronounce fatuous (audio) , -tyü- \

Definition of fatuous

: complacently or inanely foolish : silly a fatuous remark a fatuous socialite with a near-pathological love of parties and shopping— Janet Maslin

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Other Words from fatuous

fatuously adverb
fatuousness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for fatuous

simple, foolish, silly, fatuous, asinine mean actually or apparently deficient in intelligence. simple implies a degree of intelligence inadequate to cope with anything complex or involving mental effort. considered people simple who had trouble with computers foolish implies the character of being or seeming unable to use judgment, discretion, or good sense. foolish stunts silly suggests failure to act as a rational being especially by ridiculous behavior. the silly antics of revelers fatuous implies foolishness, inanity, and disregard of reality. fatuous conspiracy theories asinine suggests utter and contemptible failure to use normal rationality or perception. an asinine plot

What is the origin of infatuated?

When we speak of someone being infatuated it very often is in relationship to that person having seemingly taken leave of his or her senses, especially in a romantic context (“he was so infatuated that he could not remember what day of the week it was”). This is fitting, as the word shares an origin with the word fatuous, which means complacently or inanely foolish. Both words come from the Latin fatuus (“foolish”), although fatuous is not often used in the romantic contexts in which we find infatuate. When used with a preposition infatuated is typically followed by with.

Did you know?

I am two fools, I know, / For loving, and for saying so / In whining Poetry, wrote John Donne, simultaneously confessing to both infatuation and fatuousness. As any love-struck fool can attest, infatuation can make buffoons of the best of us. So it should come as no surprise that the words "fatuous" and "infatuation" derive from the same Latin root, fatuus, which means "foolish." Both terms have been part of English since the 17th century. "Infatuation" followed the earlier verb "infatuate," a "fatuus" descendant that once meant "to make foolish" but that now usually means "to inspire with a foolish love or admiration." "Fatuous" came directly from "fatuus." It's been used in English to describe the foolish and inane since at least 1633.

Examples of fatuous in a Sentence

the fatuous questions that the audience members asked after the lecture suggested to the oceanographer that they had understood little ignoring the avalanche warnings, the fatuous skiers continued on their course
Recent Examples on the Web Voters should be infuriated — and terrified —that politicians with this fatuous take on how to fight the virus, much less how to manage our economy, might end up in charge of our government. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 10 Aug. 2021 After it was furiously indicted by Democrats on the fatuous charge that its facilitation of Russian meddling handed Donald Trump the 2016 election, the company went out of its way to atone. Gerard Baker, WSJ, 26 July 2021 Weil neatly disarmed this fatuous attempt to portray him as an academic with his head in the clouds. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, 20 July 2021 Did Wilder, in this story, foresee the endless, fatuous smiling optimism that preceded the Wall Street crash of 1929 or Hitler’s rise to power in 1933 and the drumroll of impending spiritual bankruptcy? Peter Bradshaw, The New Republic, 28 May 2021 Such missteps — the claim of mastery over Thai cuisine and language, and profiting from the value added by that perception — make the restaurant’s fatuous claim of authenticity textbook cultural appropriation. Soleil Ho, San Francisco Chronicle, 13 May 2021 The choice for Howland thus becomes one between the vulnerability of the inmate and the brusque, fatuous bullying of the keeper. Katy Waldman, The New Yorker, 5 Jan. 2021 Released to mark the 75th anniversary of V-J Day, this documentary implicitly demolishes the fatuous argument, advanced every August, that the U.S. should never have dropped atomic bombs on Japan. Kyle Smith, National Review, 31 Dec. 2020 One of many regrettable features of the Donald Trump era is the way that the president's lies and conspiracy theories have seemed to vindicate some of his opponents' most fatuous slogans. Star Tribune, 21 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fatuous.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of fatuous

1633, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for fatuous

Latin fatuus foolish

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The first known use of fatuous was in 1633

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Cite this Entry

“Fatuous.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fatuous. Accessed 28 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for fatuous



English Language Learners Definition of fatuous

: foolish or stupid

More from Merriam-Webster on fatuous

Nglish: Translation of fatuous for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of fatuous for Arabic Speakers


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