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fatuous

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fatuous

Postby M. Henri Day » Mon Apr 18, 2005 1:17 pm

• fatuous •

Pronunciation: fæ-chu-wês • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Adjective

Meaning: 1. Smugly or unconsciously foolish, stupid. 2. Unreal, illusory, not likely to occur or exist.

Notes: In keeping with April's theme (isn't it here yet?), today's good word is another that isn't what it seems to be. We just saw that crapulent has nothing to do with crap, similarly, ramshackle has nothing to do with shackling rams, fastidiousness can be achieved slowly, ajar is not needed for canning. Now, we see that "fatuous" has nothing to do with putting on weight but rather refers to a kind of stupidity that is unaware of itself. The noun is fatuity [fæ-tu-ê-ti] and not fatuosity, which has also been used.

In Play: Worse than simply being stupid (that happens to all of us occasionally) is being stupid without realizing it: "Perry Winkle's fatuous description of Salzburg was embarrassing in itself but then he went on to prate about how he loves to visit Mozart's home whenever he is in Switzerland!" All hopes of Perry learning geography may be fatuous in the second sense of today's good word.
Word History: Today's word originated in the Latin adjective, fatuus "foolish, silly." The Latin root fat- derives from the Proto-Indo-European root *bhat- "beat, push", which also gave us English beat. Perhaps this is why we think of stupid people as being cracked, off their rockers, and having loose screws. Romans must have beaten each other silly; otherwise, it is difficult to explain the meaning of fatuus.

[Another of our good doctor's good words, in this case dated 31 March, that seem to have fallen by the wayside before making it to the Agora. It would be pointless, not to say fatuous, for us to allow this mishap to deprive us of the opportunity to discuss its uses and abuses in more detail.... - Henri]
Last edited by M. Henri Day on Mon Apr 18, 2005 1:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
曾记否,到中流击水,浪遏飞舟?
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Postby Brazilian dude » Mon Apr 18, 2005 1:22 pm

Fatuous reminds me of unctuous.

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Postby Apoclima » Mon Apr 18, 2005 4:19 pm

It always reminds me of flatulence!

Apo
'Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination.' -Max Planck
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Postby Brazilian dude » Mon Apr 18, 2005 4:22 pm

I was going to say that, but I found it best to spare our readers this.

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Postby M. Henri Day » Tue Apr 19, 2005 2:33 am

Is flatulence fatuous ? I don't know, but if peristalsis ceases, one is in dire trouble....

Henri
曾记否,到中流击水,浪遏飞舟?
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Postby Apoclima » Tue Apr 19, 2005 3:54 am

Peristalsis is not affected by sympathetectomy!

Thank Goodness!

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