(Redirected from Dunce cap)

A dunce is a person considered incapable of learning. Dunces are often comedically shown wearing paper cone hats, known as dunce caps with the word 'dunce' or 'dumb', or simply a capital D, on them. Schoolchildren were sometimes compelled to wear a dunce cap and to stand or sit on a stool in the corner as a form of punishment for misbehaving or for failing to demonstrate that they had properly performed their studies.


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The word is derived from the name of the Scottish Scholastictheologian and philosopherJohn Duns Scotus.[1] Along with Thomas Aquinas and William of Ockham, he was one of the leading Scholastic philosopher-theologians of the High Middle Ages. Duns Scotus wrote treatises on theology, grammar, logic and metaphysics, which were widely influential throughout Western Europe, earning Duns the papal accolade Doctor Subtilis (Subtle Teacher). Duns remains highly esteemed in the Roman Catholic Church, and was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1993.

The followers of Duns Scotus were called the Dunses, Dunsmen, or Scotists.[2] When in the sixteenth century the Scotists argued against Renaissance humanism, the term duns or dunce became, in the mouths of the Protestants, a term of abuse and a synonym for one incapable of scholarship.[3] This was the etymology given by Richard Stanyhurst. Samuel Johnson, on the other hand, maintained that the source of the word was unknown.

Dunce cap[edit]

A young boy wearing a dunce cap in class, from a staged photo c. 1906

A dunce cap, also variously known as a dunce hat, dunce's cap or dunce's hat, is a pointed hat, formerly used as an article of discipline in schools in Europe and the United States.[4][5] In popular culture, it is typically made of paper and often marked with a D or the word 'dunce', and given to unruly schoolchildren to wear. Frequently the 'dunce' was made to stand in the corner, facing the wall. The hope was that no one would want to be labelled the 'dunce' in the class, even for a short period of time, and thus students would avoid misbehaviour.[citation needed] Examples of behaviour which could warrant the dunce cap included throwing spitballs, passing notes, or pulling of hair. Class clowns were frequently admonished with the dunce cap.

In modern pedagogy, punishments like dunce caps have fallen out of favor.[6]

According to The Straight Dope, Duns Scotus recommended the wearing of conical hats to stimulate the brain – so-called 'thinking caps'.[7] (This notion is the likely source of the pointed hats traditionally worn by wizards, etc.) However, the Oxford English Dictionary (2nd edition) records that the term 'dunce cap' itself did not enter the English language until after the term 'dunce' had become a synonym for 'fool' or 'dimwit'. In fact, 'dunce cap' is not recorded before the 1833 travel bookAmerica, and the Americans by James Boardman. [8]John Ford's 1624 playThe Sun's Darling is the first recorded mention of the related term 'dunce table,' a table provided for duller or poorer students.

On the TV game show Win Ben Stein's Money, a player who answered in the form of a question (as required on the game show Jeopardy!) was required to wear a dunce cap.

Literary dunce[edit]

A literary dunce is a person, either real or fictional, who is used in literature as a target of satire. This usage of the term derives from Alexander Pope's landmark poetic satire The Dunciad. Dunces are not villains, although they can be villainous, as much as they are held up as the epitome of stupidity, imposture, and connivance. Show google contacts in outlook email.

See also[edit]

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  1. ^Jeaffreson, John Cordy (1870). A Book About Clergy. Hurst and Blackett. p. 81. ISBN9780598437297.
  2. ^'dunce, n.' OED Online. Oxford University Press, June 2017. Web.
  3. ^ One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). 'Dunce'. Encyclopædia Britannica. 8 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 671.
  4. ^Chico, Beverly (3 October 2013). 'The Dunce Cap'. Hats and Headwear around the World: A Cultural Encyclopaedia. ABC-CLIO. p. 116. ISBN978-1-61069-063-8.
  5. ^Grundhauser, Eric (10 September 2015). 'The Dunce Cap Wasn't Always So Stupid'. Atlas Obscura. Retrieved 1 September 2018.
  6. ^Ryback, David (1993). 'Eastern Sources of Invitational Education'. Journal of Invitational Theory and Practice. Atlanta, Georgia. 2 (2): 79.
  7. ^Gaudere (21 June 2000). 'What's the origin of the dunce cap?'. The Straight Dope. Retrieved 6 April 2017.
  8. ^Boardman, James (1833). America, and the Americans. London: Longman, Rees, Orme, Brown, Green, & Longman. p. 101.


External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Dunce caps.
  • Gaudere (June 2000). 'What's the origin of the dunce cap?'. The Straight Dope. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
  • 'Dunce's corner banned - but how did it all start? What's the origin of the dunce cap?'. Spd Rdng. January 2010. Retrieved 8 December 2016.
Retrieved from 'https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Dunce&oldid=982618651#Dunce_cap'

Launched by two gentlemen from the Pacific Northwest Dunce Cap Games builds community and enhances relationships through physical card and board games.

We are both fathers, husbands, citizens (well, one of us is Canadian) and work full time jobs AND we love games.

As fans of top-notch music, art, literature, and food, our impeccable tastes and perspective come through our company and games.

Charles Bressler, Head Chef

Charles Bressler loves games. Not head games, but down to earth, sit around the table and communicate games. Games that bring people together and forces them into fun and sometimes uncomfortable situations.

He grew up in Seattle's diverse Capitol Hill neighborhood which, for better or worse, has exposed him to people..a lot of people. He has called Renton home for the last twenty or so years.

A veteran entrepreneur, Charles has started several businesses related to telecommunications and technology. In Dunce Cap Games, he has brought together two of his loves, being his own boss and creating fun. He is also pretty handy and likes to create lamps and furniture out of old junk, attributing this to too many episodes of Sanford and Son when he was young.

He has a fabulous and creative wife; a brilliant and successful son; and a happy and funny daughter. Them, along with three bed-hogging dogs, make up his support group.

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Growing up he played a lot of Gin Rummy, Clue and Monopoly. Currently, he enjoys Go Fish!, Simpson's Clue and UNO with his daughter, and has an affinity for zombie and post-apocalyptic board games.

Kyle McCurdy Chief Maitre D'

Kyle is a father of two daughters, one dog, and three chickens. He lives in Renton, WA and works as a Strategic Account Manager in Seattle (at a really big eCommerce company). He grew up in Saskatoon, SK Canada and studied Philosophy at Washington State University.

This is Kyle's first foray into entrepreneurship. He has spent most of his career in enterprise B2B sales and leadership development and is incredibly excited to launch this company which is so in line with his passion for board and card gaming.

He plays guitar and drums, enjoys painting miniatures, loves craft beer and whiskey and checking out the awesome music and art festivles in the Pacific Northwest.

The first game he fell in love with was candy-stakes five card poker which he played with his family on camping trips. His favorite game at the moment is Axis & Allies 1940 Global (even though it takes all weekend to play a game) and he loves hosting poker games.

A few other of his favorite games include: Pandemic Legacy, Dead of Winter, Shogun/Samurai Swords/Ikusa, Cards Against Humanity, Unstable Unicorns and Castle Panic.

6817.info – 2018