stupid

by Paul Niquette
Copyright 2007 by Paul Niquette.. All rights reserved.

 
stupid adj. 1. In a stupor; stupefied. 2. Slow to apprehend; dull; obtuse. 3. Showing a lack of sense or intelligence.  4. Informal. Uninteresting; trite or dull; a stupid job. [French stupide, from Latin stupidus, from stupere, to be stunned.]
Synonyms: slow, dumb, stupid, dull, obtuse, dense, crass.  These adjectives mean lacking in mental acuity. Slow and informal dumb imply chronic sluggishness of perception or understanding: stupid and dull occasionally suggest a mere temporary state. Stupid and dumb also refer to individual actions that are extremely foolish. Obtuse implies insensitivity or unreceptiveness to instruction. Dense suggests a mind that is virtually impenetrable or incapable of grasping even elementary ideas. Crass refers especially to stupidity marked by coarseness or tastelessness.
-- The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language

Applied to a person, stupid is a hurtful slur.  With great effort, I have forbidden myself to do that.  For modifying other nouns, I try to find more polite alternatives.  In place of a stupid statement, for example, I often use non sequitur...

non sequitur n. 
1. Logic. An inference or conclusion that does not follow from established premises or evidence. 

2. A statement to which no answer seems appropriate or reasonable. 

3. A statement made or a question asked by a person who is clearly unclear on the concept.

-- The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language
...with that third sense added by the author

Non Sequitur of the First Kind (an inference or conclusion that does not follow from established premises or evidence) makes way for logical absurdities.

  • Here is a typical juvenile joke.
    • "Why are you snapping your fingers?"
      "To keep the elephants away."
      "There are no elephants within miles of here."
      "Works pretty well, doesn't it."
  • An adolescent anecdote is quoted here.
Non Sequitur of the Second Kind (a statement to which no answer seems appropriate or reasonable) is suitable for satire, for self-deprecation, and for put-downs.
  • "Prime numbers are odd" (a quote found here).
  • "The ideal rate of expansion is exactly 17.65717% per year" (a quote found here).
  • "The moon is only 1/16th the size of the earth, but it's farther away" (a quote found here).
  • "Winning isn't everything.  It's the only thing" (a quote found here).
  • "You're really into that old bicycle shit, aren't you." (a quote found here).
Non Sequitur of the Third Kind (a statement made or a question asked by a person who is clearly unclear on the concept) was discovered by the author while conducting tours of the Bicycle History Museum.
  • "Have you ever considered donating all these old bicycles to a museum?"
  • "That drive shaft [on the 19th centrury chainless bicycle] is just like the one on the BMW motorcycle."
  • "You should see my 21-speed mountain bike, with Campagnolo components, indexed derailleur, side-pull calipers,..."
  • "The tires have gone flat on my old Schwinn in the garage."
  • "What is the advantage of the large front wheel [on the high-wheel bicycle] over the sprocket and chain?"
Non Sequitur of All Three Kinds: such a rarity might indeed qualify for pejoration as stupid.


 

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