Definition of stultify
1 archaic : to allege or prove to be of unsound mind and hence not responsible
2 : to cause to appear or be stupid, foolish, or absurdly illogical
3a : to impair, invalidate, or make ineffective : negateb : to have a dulling or inhibiting effect on
stultificationplay \ˌstəl-tə-fə-ˈkā-shən\ noun
stultify was our Word of the Day on 04/06/2011. Hear the podcast!
Examples of stultify in a Sentence
The government has been stultified by bureaucracy.
Did You Know?
Stupid or absurd behavior can be almost laughable at times. That’s the kind of situation depicted in an 1871 London Daily News article, describing how a witness "stultified himself" by admitting that he was too far off to hear what he had claimed to have heard. But there is nothing especially funny about the now-archaic original usage of "stultify." The word was first used in the mid-1700s in legal contexts, where if you stultified yourself, you claimed to be of unsound mind and thus not responsible for your acts. Nor is there humor in the most common meaning of "stultify" nowadays, that of rendering someone or something useless or ineffective.
Origin and Etymology of stultify
Late Latin stultificare to make foolish, from Latin stultus foolish; akin to Latin stolidus stolid
First Known Use: 1737
STULTIFY Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of stultify for English Language Learners
: to cause (someone or something) to become dull, slow, etc.
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