- "Dumb" redirects here. For those unable to speak, see mute.
Stupidity is a lack of intelligence, understanding, reason, wit, or sense. The modern English word "stupid" has a broad range of application, from being slow of mind (indicating a lack of intelligence, care or reason), dullness of feeling or sensation (torpidity, senseless, insensitivity), or lacking interest or point (vexing, exasperating). It can either infer a congenital lack of capacity for reasoning, or a temporary state of daze or slow-mindedness. This page is for quotes regarding various notions of stupidity.
- We are growing serious, and, let me tell you, that's the very next step to being dull.
- A fool's mind is at the mercy of his tongue and a wise man's tongue is under the control of his mind.
- Ali, A Hundred Sayings
- Think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of them are stupider than that.
- I never heard tell of any clever man that came of entirely stupid people.
- Thomas Carlyle, Rectorial Address at Edinburgh, 2nd April 1886
- With various readings stored his empty skull,
Learn'd without sense, and venerably dull.
- Charles Churchill, The Rosciad (1761), line 591
- I find we are growing serious, and then we are in great danger of being dull.
- William Congreve, Old Bachelor (1693), Act II. 2
- Aristotle taught that the brain exists merely to cool the blood and is not involved in the process of thinking. This is true only of certain persons.
- Will Cuppy, The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody (1950)
- The fool of nature stood with stupid eyes
And gaping mouth, that testified surprise.
- John Dryden, Cymon and Iphigenia (1700), line 107
- Only two things are infinite; the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former.
- Origin unknown, incorrectly attributed to Albert Einstein
- People who are stupid, unscrupulous, or hypocritical, think that others are just the same. And — this is the real pity — they treat them as if they were.
- Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.
- A boor cannot be sin-fearing, an ignoramus cannot be pious, a bashful one cannot learn, a short-tempered person cannot teach, nor does anyone who does much business grow wise.
- Hillel the Younger Pirkei Avot 2:5
- Why, Sir, Sherry is dull, naturally dull; but it must have taken him a great deal of pains to become what we now see him. Such an excess of stupidity, Sir, is not in Nature.
- He is not only dull himself, but the cause of dullness in others.
- Fervid readiness to judge is the most detestable stupidity, the most pernicious evil.
- Milan Kundera, in Testaments Betrayed (1995), p. 7
- It's too bad that stupidity isn't painful. Ignorance is one thing, but our society thrives increasingly on stupidity. It depends on people going along with whatever they are told. The media promotes a cultivated stupidity as a posture that is not only acceptable but laudable.
- We spend our lives fighting to get people very slightly more stupid than ourselves to accept truths that the great men have always known. They have known for thousands of years that to lock a sick person into solitary confinement makes him worse. They have known for thousands of years that a poor man who is frightened of his landlord and of the police is a slave. They have known it. We know it. But do the great enlightened mass of the British people know it? No. It is our task, Ella, yours and mine, to tell them. Because the great men are too great to be bothered. They are already discovering how to colonise Venus and to irrigate the moon. That is what is important for our time. You and I are the boulder-pushers. All our lives, you and I, we’ll put all our energies, all our talents into pushing a great boulder up a mountain. The boulder is the truth that the great men know by instinct, and the mountain is the stupidity of mankind.
- Doris Lessing Paul Tanner, in "Free Women: 1"
- Folly is as great as the sea. It can compass anything.
- The bookful blockhead, ignorantly read,
With loads of learned lumber in his head.
- The fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.
- Bertrand Russell, "The Triumph of Stupidity" (1933-05-10) in Mortals and Others: Bertrand Russell's American Essays, 1931-1935 (Routledge, 1998, ISBN 0-415-17866-5), p. 28. This quote reflects Russell's idea on the cause of the emerging Nazi rule in Germany at that time and not on trouble in general.
- Men are born ignorant, not stupid; they are made stupid by education.
- Bertrand Russell, A History of Western Philosophy (1945), Book Three, Part II, Chapter XXI: Currents of Thought in the Nineteenth Century, p. 722.
- Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens.
- Against stupidity the very gods
Themselves contend in vain.
- Friedrich Schiller, Die Jungfrau von Orleans (The Maid of Orleans, at Project Gutenberg), Act III, scene vi (as translated by Anna Swanwick) (1801)
- Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain.
- Against stupidity the gods themselves labor in vain.
- Against stupidity the gods themselves fight unvictorious
- Against stupidity even the gods contend in vain.
- Against stupidity gods themselves contend in vain.
- With stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain.
- With stupidity the gods themselves struggle in vain.
- Against Stupidity, The Gods Themselves and Contend In Vain? are the titles of the three parts of Isaac Asimov's book The Gods Themselves
- Against stupidity the very gods
- It is better to be poor and walk in integrity than to be stupid and speak lies.
- A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it.
- There is no sin except stupidity.
- Oscar Wilde, The Critic as Artist, Part ii
- After a foolish action comes remorse.
- Anonymous; cited as a proverb among negroes in "The Mind of the African Negro as Reflected in His Proverbs" by A. O. Stafford in The Journal of Negro History Vol. 1. No. 1 (January 1916) edited by Carter G. Woodson
- Weapons-Grade Stupidity: Tech-support slang for customer intelligence that is so low it poses a severe hazard to those who come in contact with it.
- When the world begets too many fools, nature provides a Foolkiller.
- Greg Salinger in Issue 10 of Foolkiller limited series (1990-91) (Steve Gerber)
- I'd all but given up my crusade to rid the world of fools…there are, I found, just too many!
Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations
- Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 758.
- La faute en est aux dieux, qui la firent si bête.
- The fault rests with the gods, who have made her so stupid.
- Jean-Baptiste-Louis Gresset, Méchant, II. 7
- The impenetrable stupidity of Prince George (son-in-law of James II.) served his turn. It was his habit, when any news was told him, to exclaim, "Est il possible?"—"Is it possible?"
- Thomas Babington Macaulay, 1st Baron Macaulay, History of England, Volume I, Chapter IX
- Schad'um die Leut'! Sind sonst wackre Brüder.
Aber das denkt, wie ein Seifensieder.
- A pity about the people! they are brave enough comrades, but they have heads like a soapboiler's.
- Friedrich Schiller, Wallenstein's Lager, XI. 347
- Peter was dull; he was at first
Dull,—Oh, so dull—so very dull!
Whether he talked, wrote, or rehearsed—
Still with his dulness was he cursed—
Dull—beyond all conception—dull.
- Percy Bysshe Shelley, Peter Bell the Third, Part VII, XI
- Personally, I have a great admiration for stupidity.
- Oscar Wilde, An Ideal Husband, Act II