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Willie’s Etymology Lesson! —Dunce

3 May

DunceDoesn’t Willie look so cute in that hat? Of course he does 🙂 This picture was taken in December during Willie’s first birthday party. It’s clearly a birthday hat that he’s wearing. If you thought that is a dunce cap he has on, you must not know Willie too well. He is a very smart boy. He is so smart that he taught me the etymology of the word dunce.

The modern meaning of dunce is a slow-witted person or student in particular. Well, it didn’t always have that meaning. Back in the day, John Duns Scotus was a highly influential medieval theologian and philosopher. Well he still is influential because many of his teachings are still in use today in the Catholic Church. From the middle ages up unto the beginning of the Protestant Revolution, the followers of Duns Scotus were referred to as Duns. Later in the 16th century, Protestants who opposed Duns Scotus’ way of thinking referred to Scotus’ followers in a derogatory way and the term Duns grew into a term of abuse. The Protestants felt that the Duns were closed-minded and unwilling to learn. The spelling of the word and its meaning slowly evolved into how it is used today because of John Duns Scotus and his followers.

Willie is not a dunce, or a Duns, but I think John Duns Scotus would find him adorable!