MEANING: noun: A person regarded as dim-witted or foolish.

ETYMOLOGY: After theologian John Duns Scotus (c. 1265/66-1308). Earliest documented use: 1530.

NOTES: John Duns Scotus was a Catholic priest and Franciscan friar (literally, brother, from French frère: brother) in the 13th century. In his time he was known as a sophisticated thinker and philosopher and given the name “the Subtle Doctor”. Protestantism came along in 1517. As these things go, they now considered his followers, known as Dunses or Dunsmen, as hair-splitting and resistant to new learning. The word was later respelled as dunce, and took on the meaning as someone incapable of learning. The word also gave rise to a dunce cap, the conical hat, formerly used to punish schoolchildren.

DUNCEE - Scottish city, just up a grade from Dundee

DUNYE - what I'll do if ye owe me money and ye don't pay

MUNCE - city in Indana