1
as in stupid
not having or showing an ability to absorb ideas readily the fatuous questions that the audience members asked after the lecture suggested to the oceanographer that they had understood little

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2
as in absurd
showing or marked by a lack of good sense or judgment ignoring the avalanche warnings, the fatuous skiers continued on their way down the trail

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How is the word fatuous different from other adjectives like it?

Some common synonyms of fatuous are asinine, foolish, silly, and simple. While all these words mean "actually or apparently deficient in intelligence," fatuous implies foolishness, inanity, and disregard of reality.

fatuous conspiracy theories

When is it sensible to use asinine instead of fatuous?

In some situations, the words asinine and fatuous are roughly equivalent. However, asinine suggests utter and contemptible failure to use normal rationality or perception.

an asinine plot

When is foolish a more appropriate choice than fatuous?

Although the words foolish and fatuous have much in common, foolish implies the character of being or seeming unable to use judgment, discretion, or good sense.

foolish stunts

When would silly be a good substitute for fatuous?

While in some cases nearly identical to fatuous, silly suggests failure to act as a rational being especially by ridiculous behavior.

the silly antics of revelers

When might simple be a better fit than fatuous?

The words simple and fatuous can be used in similar contexts, but simple implies a degree of intelligence inadequate to cope with anything complex or involving mental effort.

considered people simple who had trouble with computers

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Cite this Entry

“Fatuous.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/fatuous. Accessed 29 Nov. 2022.

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