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 But Daumier always finds some element of the ridiculous, the fatuous, the smug, even in the poets, writers and critics among his subjects. Washington Post, "I returned to the National Gallery seeking comfort. But art no longer feels like an escape.," 7 Oct. 2020 As translated by the director and screenwriter Billy Ray, this is instead a slo-mo horror story, in which the worst lack all inhibition while the best are full of fatuous integrity. James Poniewozik, New York Times, "Review: ‘The Comey Rule’ and What a Fool Believes," 24 Sep. 2020 In other words, McConnell is just engaging in fatuous blather. Los Angeles Times, "Column: Despite rising pandemic costs, Republicans are already talking about cutting off aid," 23 Apr. 2020 Even the urban myth that billions of dollars of big-city transit subsidies are needed to help the poor and minorities is fatuous. Stephen Moore, Washington Examiner, "Mass transit is making gridlock worse," 27 Feb. 2020 Why not the antics of sly Elizabethan housewives playing tricks on a fatuous drunken roue? Peter Marks, Washington Post, "‘The Merry Wives of Windsor’ as a sitcom? Call it ‘The Bardy Bunch.’," 22 Jan. 2020 Keeping these films as relatively low-scale high-school capers (buoyed by Marvel’s fat visual-effects budget) has kept Holland’s hesitant, kind-hearted Spider-Man from seeming like a fatuous flagship star. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Spider-Man: Far From Home," 27 June 2019 There, the Department of Justice has chosen to declare much of the act unconstitutional, on flagrantly fatuous grounds. Michael Hiltzik, latimes.com, "The Trump administration finds another way to throw sand in Obamacare's gears, at patients' expense," 9 July 2018 By last weekend, the three European nations’ best effort consisted of British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s fatuous grandstanding on American television. Daniel Henninger, WSJ, "It’s Trump’s Iran Deal Now," 9 May 2018

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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Time Traveler for fatuous

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The first known use of fatuous was in 1633

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Last Updated

17 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Fatuous.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fatuous. Accessed 30 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for fatuous


How to pronounce fatuous (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of fatuous

: foolish or stupid

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