Origin of dunce
- After John Duns Scotus whose writings and philosophy were ridiculed in the 16th century
From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
- Scotus was ironically a well-known Scottish thinker. His followers, however, opposed the philosophers of the Renaissance, and thus "dunce" was first used to describe someone rejecting new knowledge in 1530; later, any stupid person.
- 1530, eponymous, from John Duns Scotus (circa 1265–1308).