Dunce(?), n. [From Joannes Duns Scotus, a schoolman called the Subtle Doctor, who died in 1308. Originally in the phrase "a Duns man". See Note below.] One backward in book learning; a child or other person dull or weak in intellect; a dullard; a dolt.
I never knew this town without dunces of figure.Swift.
The schoolmen were often called, after their great leader Duns Scotus, Dunsmen or Duncemen. In the revival of learning they were violently opposed to classical studies; hence, the name of Dunce was applied with scorn and contempt to an opposer of learning, or to one slow at learning, a dullard.
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