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

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

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."

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.

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 Director Angus MacLane follows orders like a toy soldier, repeating Toy Story’s fatuous tone in the way Buzz (now voiced by Chris Evans) accentuates the goofy hollow heroism. Armond White, National Review, 17 June 2022 His play, which might have been smashed by the insensitive or botched by the fatuous, has fallen into expert hands. Claudia Cassidy, Chicago Tribune, 19 May 2022 Her involvement personalizes developments that are otherwise divided in collective memory between arid art history and fatuous mythologizing. Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker, 7 Mar. 2022 Un chant d’amour, a film the Moonlight generation knows nothing about but that Meise relates to for its individual morality — a lost idea in this era of fatuous political conformity. Armond White, National Review, 11 Mar. 2022 Russian President Vladimir Putin and his mouthpieces are weaving the most audacious and fatuous alternative reality surrounding any 21st-century conflict -- one that renders current diplomatic efforts aimed at ending the war meaningless and futile. Stephen Collinson, CNN, 11 Mar. 2022 Al Qaeda was a relatively minor threat magnified into an existential menace, including by intellectuals conversant in fatuous historical analogies. Jordan Michael Smith, The New Republic, 10 Mar. 2022 Belgian detective, was delightfully fatuous in his enchantment with his own intellect. Joe Morgenstern, WSJ, 10 Feb. 2022 Molière is not our contemporary in some facile and fatuous way. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, 1 Feb. 2022 See More

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.

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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Last Updated

20 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Fatuous.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fatuous. Accessed 26 Jun. 2022.

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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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