Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for April 10, 2021 is:

fatuous • FATCH-oo-us  • adjective

: complacently or inanely foolish : silly


“You would have to be an inattentive person never to have noticed the incongruity between the well-informed but fatuous opinions of your forward-thinking peers on the one hand, and the simple but wise judgments of your parents or grandparents on the other.” — Barton Swaim, Commentary, November 2020

“Jules Feiffer’s cartoons in the Village Voice, which started appearing in 1956, made fun of the kind of people who read the Village Voice…. It’s not that people like to laugh at themselves. They like to laugh at people who are just a little more fatuous and self-absorbed than themselves.” — Louis Menand, The New Yorker, 1 Feb. 2021

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.”

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