Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Foolish or silly, especially in a smug or self-satisfied way: synonym: foolish.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Foolish; foolishly conceited; feebly or stupidly self-sufficient; unconsciously silly: applied both to persons and to their acts.
  • Idiotic; demented; imbecile.
  • Unreal; illusory, like the ignis fatuus.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Feeble in mind; weak; silly; stupid; foolish; fatuitous.
  • adjective Without reality; illusory, like the ignis fatuus.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Obnoxiously stupid, vacantly silly, content in one's foolishness.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective devoid of intelligence

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[From Latin fatuus.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin fatuus ("foolish, silly, simple").

Examples

  • I'm surprised that when I looked up the word fatuous in the dictionary, your name and picture weren't next to it.

    Poll: Hillary Up By 18 Points In Pennsylvania Primary

  • Polysemaniacs cannot read or hear the word fatuous without conjuring up some image or other of fatness, possibly a paunchy wise-guy at a party.

    VERBATIM: The Language Quarterly Vol XII No 3

  • Gore has that most annoying of characteristics of those on the Left, namely a fatuous belief that they are motivated by selfless regard for the planet, while everyone in business is motivated by a complete disregard for what is environmentally responsible.

    Day Four – Al Gore « Climate Audit

  • Her answers to other question can only be described as fatuous, making the viewer want to replace her with a Barbie doll in order to obtain a higher intellectual bandwidth.

    digg.com: Stories / Popular

  • Jay was so upset by the network\'s inability to commit to his contract that he disappeared from the show\'s holiday party early, while the likes of \ "Mr. Anecdote, \" Fred De Cordova, was on stage performing some kind of fatuous satire with other members of the NBC brass.

    Buddy Winston: Lenopause

  • Jay was so upset by the network's inability to commit to his contract that he disappeared from the show's holiday party early, while the likes of "Mr. Anecdote," Fred De Cordova, was on stage performing some kind of fatuous satire with other members of the NBC brass.

    Buddy Winston: Lenopause

  • It is the kind of fatuous dreck we are used to hearing.

    Giving evidence to the Chilcot inquiry, Tony Blair said: “I...

  • Or is all this just another "fatuous" observation, by your lights?

    Poll: Hillary Up 8 Points In Texas Primary

  • The Democratic Alliance has dismissed as "fatuous" a correctional services department denial of preferential treatment for certain prisoners.

    ANC Daily News Briefing

  • The Democratic Alliance dismissed the adverts as "fatuous".

    ANC Daily News Briefing

Comments

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  • "Everyone knows the fatuous verdict of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes who, asked for an actual example of when it would be proper to limit speech or defy it as an action, gave the example of shouting fire in a crowded theater." -Christopher Hitchens

    October 24, 2007

  • Pronunciation:

    \ˈfa-chü-əs, -tyü-\

    Etymology:

    Latin fatuus foolish

    adj. complacently or inanely foolish

    October 24, 2007

  • Everytime I think of this word, I see a pompous little man, wider than he is tall, in a stovepipe hat and coattails, and a dour, dour frown.

    March 19, 2008