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Alternative Ways to Say “Stupid”: Formal and Informal Options

Gaining a versatile vocabulary is always valuable, especially when you’re trying to express yourself in different social contexts. While the term “stupid” is commonly used to denote a lack of intelligence or common sense, it’s good to be aware of alternative words and phrases that can effectively convey the same meaning. In this guide, we’ll explore both formal and informal ways to say “stupid”, providing you with a diverse range of options to choose from. So, let’s dive in!

Formal Alternatives

When it comes to formal settings, it’s crucial to maintain a respectful tone while expressing your thoughts. Here are some formal alternatives to the term “stupid” that you can confidently use:

  • Unintelligent: This term directly addresses a lack of intellect without sounding too harsh. For example, “His performance on the test was disappointingly unintelligent.”
  • Inept: Implying a lack of skill or ability, “inept” is an effective way to describe someone who is struggling to grasp concepts. For instance, “The new recruit’s inept behavior is hindering the team’s progress.”
  • Ignorant: While it can be perceived as offensive depending on the context, “ignorant” is a formal word that highlights a lack of knowledge or awareness. For instance, “She made an ignorant remark, showing her lack of understanding.”
  • Idiotic: Reserved for instances when someone displays extreme foolishness, “idiotic” carefully suggests a lack of intelligence without resorting to direct insults. For example, “His decision to invest all his savings in a scam seemed utterly idiotic.”
  • Imbecilic: This term, though stronger in its meaning, can be used formally to denote extreme stupidity. For instance, “The imbecilic actions of the driver caused a serious accident.”

Informal Alternatives

In less formal situations, you have more freedom to express your thoughts creatively. Here are some informal alternatives to “stupid” that can add a touch of humor or playfulness to your conversations:

  • Dopey: Often associated with a charming sense of silliness, “dopey” describes someone who lacks common sense or understanding. For example, “He always asks the most dopey questions in meetings.”
  • Daft: With its roots in British English, “daft” denotes someone who is silly or foolish. For instance, “Stop acting daft and pay attention!”
  • Absurd: Typically used to describe situations or actions rather than individuals, “absurd” suggests a lack of logic or reason. For example, “The decision to cut funding for education is absolutely absurd.”
  • Dim-witted: A lighthearted way to refer to someone who lacks intelligence or common sense. For instance, “She’s a bit dim-witted when it comes to solving puzzles.”
  • Half-baked: This informal term suggests a lack of thoroughness or complete understanding. For example, “The half-baked plan to start a business without any research led to its failure.”

Regions and Contexts

Language can vary across regions, and certain terms are more common in specific areas. However, it’s important to note that these variations may not explicitly mean “stupid” and can have different connotations based on the cultural context. Here are a few regional variations, but do exercise caution:

Bloody: Primarily used in British English, this term suggests a sense of frustration or annoyance, but it may not directly convey the meaning of “stupid”. For example, “That was a bloody stupid mistake!”

Remember, always be mindful of cultural sensitivities, and use regional variations only if you have a good grasp of their meanings and implications.

With this guide, you now have a selection of alternatives to the term “stupid” that you can use confidently in both formal and informal situations. Remember, it’s important to consider the context and the individuals involved in any conversation to ensure your words are appropriate and respectful. Expanding your vocabulary and exploring different ways to express yourself encourages effective communication and helps you engage with others in a more thoughtful manner. So go ahead and add these alternative words to your linguistic toolbox!

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adjective as in not intelligent; irresponsible

Strongest matches

  • ill-advised
  • shortsighted

Strong matches

  • unintelligent

Weak matches

  • half-witted
  • meaningless
  • nonsensical
  • out to lunch
  • simpleminded
  • thick-headed

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Example sentences.

If all “stupid grids” were replaced by smart grids, it would allow cities, for example, to manage production, storage, distribution and consumption of energy and to cut peaks in energy demand that would reduce CO2 emissions dramatically.

I’m just going to make this as completely stupid as I want to be.

Her philosophy, onstage and off, is that not everybody is stupid, not only her views are right, and if we listen to those we disagree with instead of rolling our eyes, we might get somewhere.

What that story missed is that professional investors don’t underperform the market because they’re stupid.

Like, this thing will get published and then some Wyomingite will ride in on a horse and be all like, “Just kidding, we eat chicken wings at our Super Bowl parties, you stupid East Coast rube.”

Later, his turn as a lothario in the box office hit Crazy Stupid Love made him even more swoon-worthy.

Contrary to What Stupid Republicans Think… A completely different U.S. foreign policy may not be the answer.

As expected, initial reports were met with cries of “Stupid!”

On Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who said Republicans are acting like the Stupid Party?

They did not pander to social-conservative populists, and no one would accuse them of representing the Party of Stupid.

Stupid things puns—made one myself then, though—just like me.

Stupid you were when you stole things out of my book—could you not guess that I might have read my own books?

Stupid you were when you thought yourself cleverer than me, and when you thought that I could be lured into becoming a thief.

Stupid you were when you thought balance could be restored by giving the world two thieves instead of one.

Stupid Polish Majesty has his natural envies, jealousies, of a Brandenburg waxing over his head at this rate.

Related Words

Words related to stupid are not direct synonyms, but are associated with the word stupid . Browse related words to learn more about word associations.

adjective as in ridiculous, senseless

  • fooling around
  • incongruous
  • off the wall
  • preposterous
  • unreasonable

adjective as in senseless

adjective as in insane

  • harebrained

adjective as in commonplace

  • conventional
  • dull as dishwater
  • platitudinous
  • stereotyped
  • unimaginative
  • wishy-washy

adjective as in expressionless

  • inexpressive
  • inscrutable
  • noncommittal
  • poker-faced
  • uncommunicative
  • unexpressive

Viewing 5 / 84 related words

When To Use

What are other ways to say  stupid .

The adjective stupid implies natural slowness or dullness of intellect, or, sometimes, a benumbed or dazed state of mind; it is also used to mean foolish or silly: He was rendered stupid by a blow; It is stupid to do such a thing. Foolish implies a lack of common sense or good judgment or, sometimes, a weakness of mind: a foolish decision; The child seems foolish. Fatuous implies being not only foolish, dull, and vacant in mind, but complacent and highly self-satisfied as well: fatuous and self-important; fatuous answers. Silly denotes extreme and conspicuous foolishness; it may also refer to pointlessness of jokes, remarks, etc.: silly and senseless behavior; a perfectly silly statement. Inane applies to silliness that is notably lacking in content, sense, or point: inane questions that leave one with no reply. Asinine originally meant like an ass; it applies to witlessly stupid conversations or conduct and suggests a lack of social grace or perception: He failed to notice the reaction to his asinine remarks.

On this page you'll find 144 synonyms, antonyms, and words related to stupid, such as: dull, dumb, foolish, futile, ill-advised, and irrelevant.

From Roget's 21st Century Thesaurus, Third Edition Copyright © 2013 by the Philip Lief Group.

Interesting Literature

14 of the Best ‘Stupid’ Synonyms

By Dr Oliver Tearle (Loughborough University)

Words, of course, are the tools of the writer’s trade. But what are some good words, perhaps even some unusual but wonderfully descriptive words, which mean ‘stupid’ or ‘foolish’ or ‘gullible’? Here are some of the best, most useful, as well as some of the most unusual synonyms for ‘stupid’ and ‘stupidity’ (and for foolish people).

This word literally comes from the Greek for ‘dull’: ‘oxymoron’, denoting a phrase containing two opposites, literally means ‘sharp-dull’. Someone who is moronic or a moron is ‘dull’, then; but this word is often frowned upon because it was also used to describe those who are mentally disabled.

Originally denoting a substance whose particles who close together – whose particles, in other words, were thickly crowded together – the word ‘dense’ came to be applied to people, and specifically to those whose intelligence leaves something to be desired, in the early nineteenth century. The Oxford English Dictionary ’s earliest citation is from the essayist Charles Lamb in 1822.

How, then, did thick itself come to be a synonym for stupid ? The word was applied to people who were dull of hearing some time in the sixteenth century, and by the end of that century was being used for those who were dull of perception in a mental rather than auditory sense. The famous simile from 2 Henry IV , ‘as thicke as Tewksbury mustard’, is the OED ’s earliest citation for the word ‘thick’ in the sense of ‘stupid’.

The word ‘obtuse’ denotes someone who is slow to understand, or insensitively stupid in their behaviour. The origin of this term as a synonym for ‘stupid’ is easier to understand when we learn that it originally meant ‘dull’ or ‘blunt’ or ‘stupid’ on classical Latin.

IMBECILIC .

An imbecile is somebody of weak or inferior intellect, but in Psychology the term refers specifically to somebody whose mental disabilities rendered them somewhere between a moron (less severe than an imbecile) and an idiot (more severe than an imbecile).

GOBEMOUCHE.

Let’s branch out into less familiar territory and celebrate some more niche words for stupidity and stupid people for a moment. The word ‘gobemouche’ certainly fits the bill: it’s a word denoting a gullible person who believes everything, and is, rather pleasingly, from the French for ‘fly-swallower’ – the idea being that a slow-witted person always has their mouth open.

A fool. Dating from at least as early as the fifteenth century, ‘wantwit’ means a fool or stupid person – someone who ‘wants’ (or lacks) wit.

Defined by the OED as ‘A fool, simpleton, noodle, blockhead’, this wonderful word has been in use since 1500.

Returning us to the realm of the more familiar here, ‘mindless’ is a good all-round synonym for ‘stupid’ or unintelligent: it’s been in use for over a thousand years.

This word means ‘foolish or silly’, although its use is rather rare. It’s found in one of the eighteenth-century dictionaries by Nathan Bailey that preceded Samuel Johnson’s more famous one of 1755.

PHRONEMOPHOBIA.

On a related note, an unusual synonym for ‘stupid’ might be ‘phronemophobic’: having a fear of thinking. This is a rare term, but is useful to know…

ULTRACREPIDARIAN.

This handy adjective combines stupidity or ignorance with the need to announce such ignorance to the world: ‘ultracrepidation’ is practised by someone who is a) stupid and b) overly critical. So to ultracrepidate means to criticise something that is beyond one’s sphere of knowledge, and an ultracrepidarian is one who ultracrepidates.

The word has a curious etymology: it was first recorded in 1819 by the essayist William Hazlitt, who called the editor William Gifford ‘an Ultra-Crepidarian critic.’ But the term ultimately has its origins in the classical world: the Greek artist Apelles said to a shoemaker who presumed to criticise his painting, ‘Sutor, ne ultra crepidam’: i.e. ‘do not venture beyond the sole’, or, in other words, don’t venture to offer an opinion on things you know nothing about.

ULTRAFIDIAN.

Sticking with ‘ultra’ words, this term denotes someone whose credulity spills over into gullibility. As Hartley Coleridge put it in 1849: ‘The great moralist, who balanced an ultrafidian credulity in the supernatural with an extraordinary degree of scepticism in things natural and human.’

INANILOQUENT.

A slight variation on the idea of being stupid: this word refers to speaking foolishly or saying silly things.

This concludes our pick of the best synonyms for stupid and stupidity (and stupid person ). Of course, there are many others we could have included, but we opted for the most interesting as well as the most directly useful here (though some are less useful and some more interesting than others!).

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10 thoughts on “14 of the Best ‘Stupid’ Synonyms”

I might start using “gobemouche” and “ultracrepidarian”. They just sound so much better than calling someone “thick”!

Very interesting, will need to use some of these sometime.

Very useful list! I think I might start using gobemouche, love it!😂

love these new words for my own vocab – thanks xxxx

I feel gobmouched!

What, no mention of ‘gormless’?

Brilliant list! Some of the lesser-known ones must be brought back into use!

And then for nouns, there’s always dipsh*t, dolt, idiot, ignoramus, moron, nitwit and numbskull.

Surely nincompoop deserves to be on the list?

Wow! Who knew there were so many ways to be stupid. I would say I am dense, but really just ignorant!

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Stupid – Synonyms

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Stupid-Synonyms-01

The word “stupid” commonly defines a lack of intelligence and is mainly used in informal speech. In a broader sense, it can be understood as a restricted state of mind.

Another word for “stupid” is unintelligent or foolish. However, more synonyms will be listed in this article.

On our overview page for synonyms, you can find the best options of synonyms for a vast variety of words that are used in academic writing .

To the overview page for synonyms

Inhaltsverzeichnis

  • 1 “Stupid” – General synonyms
  • 2 “Stupid” – Synonyms used in academic writing

“Stupid” – General synonyms

The following illustrates other words for “stupid” that may be used in everyday conversation as well as in academic writing.

  • Ill-advised
  • Thoughtless
  • Unintelligent
  • Unreflective

“Stupid” synonyms in the sense of unintelligent

Synonyms of the word “stupid” in the sense of unintelligent are:

  • Simple-minded
  • Thickheaded

“Stupid” synonyms in the sense of silly

Synonyms of the word “stupid” in the sense of silly are:

  • Irresponsible
  • Meaningless
  • Short-sighted

“Stupid” synonyms in the sense of senseless

Synonyms of the word “stupid” in the sense of senseless are:

  • Into-oblivion
  • Punch-drunk
  • Semiconscious

“Stupid” – Synonyms used in academic writing

In an academic context, the word “stupid” is not used. It is rather used in everyday language and has a negative connotation. However, synonyms for “stupid” are shown in examples below.

Are you looking for suitable synonyms for “stupid” for your academic paper? Have a look at the table below with the top suggestions from our BachelorPrint-Team .

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Synonyms of 'stupid' in American English

Synonyms of 'stupid' in british english, additional synonyms.

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Thesaurus article: stupid

These are all words used to describe people, actions, etc. that show poor judgment or little intelligence.

One of the most commonly used words for this is stupid .

The opposite of stupid is intelligent .

For more opposites of stupid , see the article at intelligent .

Two common alternatives to stupid are foolish and silly .

In informal contexts you can also use crazy and, in US English, dumb .

  Be careful

Some people find these uses of crazy and dumb offensive because they are sometimes mean words used to describe someone with mental illness or a physical disability.

If you say that someone is unintelligent , you mean that they are not intelligent. This word is more formal than the ones above.

If something or someone is stupid enough to be funny or strange, you can use the words absurd , ridiculous , or ludicrous .

You can say that a foolish person or their actions are idiotic . This word is more disapproving than foolish is.

In informal situations, if you think someone is extremely stupid, you can say that they are out of their mind .

In informal UK English, you can call someone ignorant as an insult if they have done something you think is not polite or does not show respect.

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Ways to Say STUPID - wordscoach.com

40+ Ways to Say STUPID in english

Ways to say stupid.

The word “ stupid ” is often used to describe someone who is perceived to be lacking intelligence or common sense. However, using the same word repeatedly can be unproductive, especially when trying to provide constructive criticism. In this blog, we will explore some ways to say stupid that can add more depth and clarity to how we describe someone’s mistakes or shortcomings.

  • Foolish – Displaying a lack of wisdom, common sense, or good judgment.
  • Unwise – Making decisions or taking actions that are not smart or prudent.
  • Ignorant – Lacking knowledge or information about a particular subject or situation.
  • Imprudent – Acting without caution or careful consideration of consequences.
  • Senseless – Lacking any rational or logical basis.
  • Absurd – Contradicting rationality or good sense; lacking credibility.
  • Preposterous – Extremely ridiculous or absurd.
  • Short-sighted – Lacking the ability to see beyond immediate results or consequences.
  • Naive – Displaying a lack of experience, judgment, or sophistication.
  • Inane – Devoid of intelligence or meaning.
  • Ridiculous – Invoking laughter or mockery due to being absurd or irrational.
  • Foolhardy – Displaying recklessness or a lack of caution.
  • Witless – Lacking intelligence or understanding.
  • Dumb – Displaying a lack of intelligence or good judgment.
  • Clueless – Having no understanding or awareness of a situation.

Ways to Say STUPID in english

Here are some “ways to say stupid” in English:

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Ways to Say STUPID - wordscoach.com

In this blog, we will explore some of these alternatives ( Ways to Say STUPID).

Unintelligent: This word is a simple and straightforward alternative to “stupid.” It is less loaded and can be used in situations where you want to describe someone’s lack of intellectual capabilities without being hurtful. It suggests that someone is not particularly bright or clever, but it does not imply that they are completely incompetent.

Example: “He may be a nice guy, but he’s just not very intelligent.”

Simple-minded: This phrase is a more descriptive way of saying “stupid.” It implies that someone has a limited capacity for complex or abstract thought. It is often used to describe people who are not very creative or imaginative.

Example: “She’s a bit simple-minded, so she struggles with more abstract concepts.”

Ignorant: Ignorance is a lack of knowledge or information. This word can be used to describe someone who is not well-informed about a particular topic or subject. It is less personal than “stupid” and can be a more productive way to encourage someone to learn more about a subject.

Example: “I don’t think he understands the issue fully. He’s just ignorant about the facts.”

Uninformed: Similar to “ignorant,” this word is used to describe someone who lacks knowledge or information about a particular subject. It is a more neutral way of describing someone’s lack of understanding.

Example: “She’s uninformed about the topic, so she doesn’t really know what she’s talking about.”

Foolish: This word is a less harsh alternative to “stupid.” It suggests that someone has made a poor decision or is engaging in behavior that is not wise. It can be used to describe someone’s actions rather than their overall intelligence.

Example: “It was a foolish decision to quit his job without having another one lined up.”

Dense: This word suggests that someone is slow to understand or learn new things. It can be used to describe someone who is not necessarily stupid, but who takes longer to process information.

Example: “He’s not stupid, but he can be a bit dense at times. It takes him a while to understand new concepts.”

Naive: This word is used to describe someone who lacks experience or is overly trusting. It suggests that someone is not stupid, but is perhaps too innocent or inexperienced to recognize when they are being taken advantage of.

Example: “She’s not stupid, she’s just a bit naive. She doesn’t realize that people might try to manipulate her.”

In conclusion, there are many ways to describe someone’s mistakes or shortcomings without resorting to the same old word “stupid” ( Ways to Say STUPID ). By using a variety of descriptors, we can add nuance and depth to how we describe someone’s actions or decisions. Whether we use words like “foolish,” “unwise,” or “inane,” each of these words can provide a unique perspective on someone’s behavior and help us communicate our thoughts more effectively.

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essay word for stupid

To be truly brilliant, an essay needs to utilise the right language. You could make a great point, but if it’s not intelligently articulated, you almost needn’t have bothered.

Developing the language skills to build an argument and to write persuasively is crucial if you’re to write outstanding essays every time. In this article, we’re going to equip you with the words and phrases you need to write a top-notch essay, along with examples of how to utilise them.

It’s by no means an exhaustive list, and there will often be other ways of using the words and phrases we describe that we won’t have room to include, but there should be more than enough below to help you make an instant improvement to your essay-writing skills.

If you’re interested in developing your language and persuasive skills, Oxford Royale offers summer courses at its Oxford Summer School , Cambridge Summer School , London Summer School , San Francisco Summer School and Yale Summer School . You can study courses to learn english , prepare for careers in law , medicine , business , engineering and leadership.

General explaining

Let’s start by looking at language for general explanations of complex points.

1. In order to

Usage: “In order to” can be used to introduce an explanation for the purpose of an argument. Example: “In order to understand X, we need first to understand Y.”

2. In other words

Usage: Use “in other words” when you want to express something in a different way (more simply), to make it easier to understand, or to emphasise or expand on a point. Example: “Frogs are amphibians. In other words, they live on the land and in the water.”

3. To put it another way

Usage: This phrase is another way of saying “in other words”, and can be used in particularly complex points, when you feel that an alternative way of wording a problem may help the reader achieve a better understanding of its significance. Example: “Plants rely on photosynthesis. To put it another way, they will die without the sun.”

4. That is to say

Usage: “That is” and “that is to say” can be used to add further detail to your explanation, or to be more precise. Example: “Whales are mammals. That is to say, they must breathe air.”

5. To that end

Usage: Use “to that end” or “to this end” in a similar way to “in order to” or “so”. Example: “Zoologists have long sought to understand how animals communicate with each other. To that end, a new study has been launched that looks at elephant sounds and their possible meanings.”

Adding additional information to support a point

Students often make the mistake of using synonyms of “and” each time they want to add further information in support of a point they’re making, or to build an argument . Here are some cleverer ways of doing this.

6. Moreover

Usage: Employ “moreover” at the start of a sentence to add extra information in support of a point you’re making. Example: “Moreover, the results of a recent piece of research provide compelling evidence in support of…”

7. Furthermore

Usage:This is also generally used at the start of a sentence, to add extra information. Example: “Furthermore, there is evidence to suggest that…”

8. What’s more

Usage: This is used in the same way as “moreover” and “furthermore”. Example: “What’s more, this isn’t the only evidence that supports this hypothesis.”

9. Likewise

Usage: Use “likewise” when you want to talk about something that agrees with what you’ve just mentioned. Example: “Scholar A believes X. Likewise, Scholar B argues compellingly in favour of this point of view.”

10. Similarly

Usage: Use “similarly” in the same way as “likewise”. Example: “Audiences at the time reacted with shock to Beethoven’s new work, because it was very different to what they were used to. Similarly, we have a tendency to react with surprise to the unfamiliar.”

11. Another key thing to remember

Usage: Use the phrase “another key point to remember” or “another key fact to remember” to introduce additional facts without using the word “also”. Example: “As a Romantic, Blake was a proponent of a closer relationship between humans and nature. Another key point to remember is that Blake was writing during the Industrial Revolution, which had a major impact on the world around him.”

12. As well as

Usage: Use “as well as” instead of “also” or “and”. Example: “Scholar A argued that this was due to X, as well as Y.”

13. Not only… but also

Usage: This wording is used to add an extra piece of information, often something that’s in some way more surprising or unexpected than the first piece of information. Example: “Not only did Edmund Hillary have the honour of being the first to reach the summit of Everest, but he was also appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire.”

14. Coupled with

Usage: Used when considering two or more arguments at a time. Example: “Coupled with the literary evidence, the statistics paint a compelling view of…”

15. Firstly, secondly, thirdly…

Usage: This can be used to structure an argument, presenting facts clearly one after the other. Example: “There are many points in support of this view. Firstly, X. Secondly, Y. And thirdly, Z.

16. Not to mention/to say nothing of

Usage: “Not to mention” and “to say nothing of” can be used to add extra information with a bit of emphasis. Example: “The war caused unprecedented suffering to millions of people, not to mention its impact on the country’s economy.”

Words and phrases for demonstrating contrast

When you’re developing an argument, you will often need to present contrasting or opposing opinions or evidence – “it could show this, but it could also show this”, or “X says this, but Y disagrees”. This section covers words you can use instead of the “but” in these examples, to make your writing sound more intelligent and interesting.

17. However

Usage: Use “however” to introduce a point that disagrees with what you’ve just said. Example: “Scholar A thinks this. However, Scholar B reached a different conclusion.”

18. On the other hand

Usage: Usage of this phrase includes introducing a contrasting interpretation of the same piece of evidence, a different piece of evidence that suggests something else, or an opposing opinion. Example: “The historical evidence appears to suggest a clear-cut situation. On the other hand, the archaeological evidence presents a somewhat less straightforward picture of what happened that day.”

19. Having said that

Usage: Used in a similar manner to “on the other hand” or “but”. Example: “The historians are unanimous in telling us X, an agreement that suggests that this version of events must be an accurate account. Having said that, the archaeology tells a different story.”

20. By contrast/in comparison

Usage: Use “by contrast” or “in comparison” when you’re comparing and contrasting pieces of evidence. Example: “Scholar A’s opinion, then, is based on insufficient evidence. By contrast, Scholar B’s opinion seems more plausible.”

21. Then again

Usage: Use this to cast doubt on an assertion. Example: “Writer A asserts that this was the reason for what happened. Then again, it’s possible that he was being paid to say this.”

22. That said

Usage: This is used in the same way as “then again”. Example: “The evidence ostensibly appears to point to this conclusion. That said, much of the evidence is unreliable at best.”

Usage: Use this when you want to introduce a contrasting idea. Example: “Much of scholarship has focused on this evidence. Yet not everyone agrees that this is the most important aspect of the situation.”

Adding a proviso or acknowledging reservations

Sometimes, you may need to acknowledge a shortfalling in a piece of evidence, or add a proviso. Here are some ways of doing so.

24. Despite this

Usage: Use “despite this” or “in spite of this” when you want to outline a point that stands regardless of a shortfalling in the evidence. Example: “The sample size was small, but the results were important despite this.”

25. With this in mind

Usage: Use this when you want your reader to consider a point in the knowledge of something else. Example: “We’ve seen that the methods used in the 19th century study did not always live up to the rigorous standards expected in scientific research today, which makes it difficult to draw definite conclusions. With this in mind, let’s look at a more recent study to see how the results compare.”

26. Provided that

Usage: This means “on condition that”. You can also say “providing that” or just “providing” to mean the same thing. Example: “We may use this as evidence to support our argument, provided that we bear in mind the limitations of the methods used to obtain it.”

27. In view of/in light of

Usage: These phrases are used when something has shed light on something else. Example: “In light of the evidence from the 2013 study, we have a better understanding of…”

28. Nonetheless

Usage: This is similar to “despite this”. Example: “The study had its limitations, but it was nonetheless groundbreaking for its day.”

29. Nevertheless

Usage: This is the same as “nonetheless”. Example: “The study was flawed, but it was important nevertheless.”

30. Notwithstanding

Usage: This is another way of saying “nonetheless”. Example: “Notwithstanding the limitations of the methodology used, it was an important study in the development of how we view the workings of the human mind.”

Giving examples

Good essays always back up points with examples, but it’s going to get boring if you use the expression “for example” every time. Here are a couple of other ways of saying the same thing.

31. For instance

Example: “Some birds migrate to avoid harsher winter climates. Swallows, for instance, leave the UK in early winter and fly south…”

32. To give an illustration

Example: “To give an illustration of what I mean, let’s look at the case of…”

Signifying importance

When you want to demonstrate that a point is particularly important, there are several ways of highlighting it as such.

33. Significantly

Usage: Used to introduce a point that is loaded with meaning that might not be immediately apparent. Example: “Significantly, Tacitus omits to tell us the kind of gossip prevalent in Suetonius’ accounts of the same period.”

34. Notably

Usage: This can be used to mean “significantly” (as above), and it can also be used interchangeably with “in particular” (the example below demonstrates the first of these ways of using it). Example: “Actual figures are notably absent from Scholar A’s analysis.”

35. Importantly

Usage: Use “importantly” interchangeably with “significantly”. Example: “Importantly, Scholar A was being employed by X when he wrote this work, and was presumably therefore under pressure to portray the situation more favourably than he perhaps might otherwise have done.”

Summarising

You’ve almost made it to the end of the essay, but your work isn’t over yet. You need to end by wrapping up everything you’ve talked about, showing that you’ve considered the arguments on both sides and reached the most likely conclusion. Here are some words and phrases to help you.

36. In conclusion

Usage: Typically used to introduce the concluding paragraph or sentence of an essay, summarising what you’ve discussed in a broad overview. Example: “In conclusion, the evidence points almost exclusively to Argument A.”

37. Above all

Usage: Used to signify what you believe to be the most significant point, and the main takeaway from the essay. Example: “Above all, it seems pertinent to remember that…”

38. Persuasive

Usage: This is a useful word to use when summarising which argument you find most convincing. Example: “Scholar A’s point – that Constanze Mozart was motivated by financial gain – seems to me to be the most persuasive argument for her actions following Mozart’s death.”

39. Compelling

Usage: Use in the same way as “persuasive” above. Example: “The most compelling argument is presented by Scholar A.”

40. All things considered

Usage: This means “taking everything into account”. Example: “All things considered, it seems reasonable to assume that…”

How many of these words and phrases will you get into your next essay? And are any of your favourite essay terms missing from our list? Let us know in the comments below, or get in touch here to find out more about courses that can help you with your essays.

At Oxford Royale Academy, we offer a number of  summer school courses for young people who are keen to improve their essay writing skills. Click here to apply for one of our courses today, including law , business , medicine  and engineering .

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Narrative Essays

Narrative: The spoken or written account of connected events; a story

Narrative Introductions

The introduction of a narrative essay sets the scene for the story that follows. Interesting introductions—for any kind of writing—engage and draw readers in because they want to know more.

Since narratives tell a story and involve events, the introduction of a narrative quite often starts in the middle of the action in order to bring the reader into the story immediately, as shown in examples 1, 3, and 5 below. Other effective introductions briefly provide background for the point of the story—often the lesson learned—as in 4 below and the first example on the reverse side.

Below are some strategies for writing effective openings. Remember your introduction should be interesting and draw your reader in. It should make your audience want to read more. If it's a person , begin with a description of the person and then say why that person mattered. If it's an event , begin with the action or begin by reflecting back on why the event mattered, then go into the narrative.

  • "Potter...take off!" my coach yelled as I was cracking yet another joke during practice.
  • Why do such a small percentage of high school athletes play Division One sports?
  • It was a cold, rainy night, under the lights on the field. I lined up the ball on the penalty line under the wet grass. After glancing up at the tied score, I stared into the goalkeeper's eyes.
  • My heart pounds in my chest. My stomach full of nervous butterflies. I hear the crowd talking and names being cheered.
  • Slipping the red and white uniform over my head for the first time is a feeling I will never forget.
  • "No football." Those words rang in my head for hours as I thought about what a stupid decision I had made three nights before.
  • "SNAP!" I heard the startling sound of my left knee before I ever felt the pain.
  • According to the NCAA, there are over 400,000 student-athletes in the United States.

Narrative Story

  • Unified: Ensure all actions in your story develop a central idea or argument.
  • Interesting: Draw your readers into your scene(s), making them feel as if they're experiencing them first-hand.
  • Coherent: Indicate changes in time, location, and characters clearly (even if your story is not chronological).
  • Climactic: Include a moment (the climax) when your ending is revealed or the importance of events is made clear.
  • Remember the 5 W's : Who? What? When? Where? Why?
  • Write vividly : Include significant sensory information in the scene (sight, sound, touch, smell, taste) to make readers feel they are there
  • Develop " Thick Descriptions "

Clifford Geertz describes thick descriptions as accounts that include not only facts but also commentary and interpretation . The goal is to vividly describe an action or scene, often through the use of metaphors, analogies, and other forms of interpretation that can emote strong feelings and images in your readers' minds.

"The flatness of the Delta made the shack, the quarters, and the railroad tracks nearby seem like some tabletop model train set. Like many Mississippi shacks, this one looked as if no one had lived there since the birth of the blues. Four sunflowers leaned alongside a sagging porch. When the front door creaked open, cockroaches bigger than pecans scurried for cover [...] walls wept with mildew."

—from Bruce Watson's Freedom Summer

Narrative Checklist

  • Does the story have a clear and unifying idea? If not, what could that idea be?
  • If the story doesn't include a thesis sentence, is the unifying idea of the story clear without it?
  • Is the story unified, with all the details contributing to the central idea?
  • Is the story arranged chronologically? If not, is the organization of ideas and events still effective and clear?
  • Do the transitions show the movement from idea to idea and scene to scene?
  • Are there enough details?
  • Is there dialogue at important moments?
  • Is there a climax to the story—moment at which the action is resolved or a key idea is revealed?

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’50 Completely True Things,’ a Palestinian-American’s call for compromise, strikes a chord on social media 

essay word for stupid

( JTA ) — Last fall, Mo Husseini wrote a series of propositions — what he called “50 Completely True Things” — about the Israel-Hamas war, and posted it on the social media site Threads.

Identifying himself as “a Palestinian American who is tired of stupid people,” Husseini set out to puncture myths on both sides of the conflict, suggesting that neither Palestinians nor Israelis had a monopoly on truth, justice or the moral high ground. 

“This isn’t an essay in Foreign Affairs, you know? This is an idiot shitposting on the internet in trying to leverage a sense of humor to point out the delusions on both sides,” Husseini said in an interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency on Monday, using internet slang for aggressive, often ironic social media content. 

“It’s not my place to decide what happens between Palestinian and Israeli negotiators,” he told JTA. “What matters to me is helping people, and getting past the delusions.” 

The post — witty, profane and anguished — got a polite if unspectacular response on Threads, which is owned by Meta.

Three days ago Husseini re-upped the post as an essay on the self-publishing site Medium, and in the days since its readership has soared. Husseini has seen his once modest following on Threads grow to over 16,000 . The essay on Medium has been read more than 3,500 times . It’s been shared countless times on Facebook , a platform where Husseini barely had a presence before the weekend.

Many of those sharing the post are Jews who seem eager to read and identify with an essay that seeks common ground in a polarizing debate, and, as one Facebook user commented, “tried to push through some of the double talk and extremism.”

Husseini offers plenty to trigger partisans of all stripes, from campus protesters to pro-Israel groups. He notes that there “are shitty and awful people” on all sides of the conflict, that Israelis and Palestinians have both committed “acts of terror and violence,” and that their respective governments do not necessarily speak for their people. 

Many of the essay’s short declarations refute some of the shibboleths of partisans: He undercuts, for example, the far-left assertion that the conflict is a clash between white supremacists and people of color, and mocks the far-right Zionist view that the Palestinians have no legitimate claims to a state of their own. 

As for the war, Husseini condemns the Oct. 7 attacks and writes that Hamas has earned “every f–king thing that the Israeli military throws at them.” At the same time, he laments the enormous toll among civilians in Gaza. “What is happening in Gaza to civilians is f–king awful, and not the smartest thing for Israel to do, and some aspects of Israeli military activity may be war crimes, and it doesn’t have to be genocide for it to be tragic,” he writes.

The essay also rejects calls, increasingly popular on the pro-Palestinian left, for a one-state liberal democracy of Palestinians and Jews. “[T]his wonderful future has about as much chance of happening in the near term as this 5’8″ 53-year-old Palestinian has of being a starter for the Golden State Warriors,” writes Husseini. “A two-state solution is the only workable one.”

Josh Feigelson, president and CEO of the Institute for Jewish Spirituality, was so taken with the virality of the post that he asked his Facebook followers to explain why they had shared or recommended the piece . 

“It felt like a novel Palestinian voice that I wanted to amplify — his publicly affirming Israel’s existence and Hamas’s atrocities, along with the failures of all sides,” responded a Massachusetts rabbi.

“I chose to post it because it speaks to the broad center, which I believe is both the ‘silent majority’ of Zionists and Palestinians and the only possible way out of this conflict,” wrote a Jewish educator.

Husseini also got a boost earlier this month from Rabbi Sharon Brous, the high-profile leader of the Los Angeles congregation IKAR. She quoted another essay by Husseini in her Shabbat sermon on May 4, which is posted to YouTube . In that essay Husseini asserts that “true long-term freedom, security, and self-determination for Palestinians cannot exist without creating a reciprocal reality for Israelis. ”

Brous called that essay “one of the most compelling articles I have read about this conflict in the past decade.” (The novelist Michael Chabon shared Brous’ sermon with his 27,000 followers on Threads.) Brous compared Husseini to Rep. John Lewis, the late congressman and civil rights leader. 

Husseini, however, is neither a politician nor an activist, but a design and creative director who lives in the Seattle area. “This has nothing to do with my job,” he said of his posts on the war. 

Husseini’s father was born in Jerusalem, the descendant of a branch of a well-known Palestinian Muslim family. Mo Husseini grew up in Kuwait, and after boarding school in the United Kingdom studied political economics at the University of California, Berkeley. He turned to filmmaking after graduation, working at George Lucas’ Industrial Light & Magic and eventually directing and supervising visual effects for commercials. He currently works for a firm that creates events and brand awareness for major companies.  

“I’m not a representative of an organization. I don’t speak for Palestinians,” he said in an interview Monday from his Seattle-area office. “And I don’t certainly speak for Jews.” 

“50 Completely True Things,” he said, “came from a deep sense of frustration that everybody knows the answer, especially that the correct answer is a democratic state with equal rights for everybody. And that is fantastic in an idealized world where the Nakba didn’t happen and the Holocaust didn’t happen. But the reality is that everybody is very aware what the solution is, and that solution is fundamentally two states.

“This idea that the Israelis are just going to have to pack up and leave starts to be a symbolic struggle against reality,” he added. “There’s no one here with clean hands and in the context of that, I think it’s incumbent on people to find a way that acknowledges reality.”

Husseini said 90% of the responses to his “Facts” essay have been positive. As for the negative reactions, he dismisses the idea that in acknowledging pain on the Israeli side and culpability on the Palestinian side he is “normalizing” Israel and Zionism. 

“I don’t need to ‘normalize’ Israel,” he said. “The State of Israel is normalized. It’s there. Do I wish it didn’t exist the way it exists now, do I have problems with Israel politically? Yes. But I also have those feelings about every state in the world. But if the question is where people can just live their lives, then you have to acknowledge reality.”

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Ye Olde Nincompoop

old words for stupid muttonhead

Definition - a dull-witted person

Muttonhead is not quite so old as many of the words in this list, in use only since the early 19th century. It makes up for this lack of lineage with a degree of oddity that sets it apart from the older words. Muttonhead is a combination, obviously enough, of head , and mutton (“the flesh of a mature sheep used for food”). It also is the word from which we get mutt , a word which has been applied, since the end of the 19th century, to horses (of the run-down variety), people (of insignificance), and dogs (of indeterminate or mixed breed).

To recap: a word for people, which was based on sheep, shortened and became a term for horses (or people), and now is most commonly applied to dogs.

Mankind are bored enough with scholastic mutton heads on commencement day; but to have the wretches continually grinding on their patience from the columns of a newspaper is past endurance. — National Advocate (New York, NY), 13 Jul. 1826

old words for stupid asshead

Definition - blockhead, ass

The English language is particularly rich in words which are capable of describing a person who makes questionable choices, and a large number of these words appear to end with - head . A very partial list includes bonehead , bufflehead , chowderhead , chucklehead , citternhead , dolthead , doughhead , dullhead , dumbhead , dunderhead , hammerhead , hardhead , jolter-head , leatherhead , loggerhead , muddlehead , noodlehead , pumpkin head , ramhead , squarehead , thickhead , and woodenhead . Of these perhaps none has such trenchant weight as the humble asshead .

The scholler went home with a heavy heart, bearing a letter to Master Scogin, how his scholler could not answer to this question, Isaac had two sonnes, Esau & Iacob, who was Iacobs Father. Scogin said to his scholler, thou foole and asse-head, doest thou not know Tom Miller of Osney? — Andrew Boorde, The first and best part of Scoggins iests full of witty mirth and pelasant shifts, done by him in France, and other places: being a preseruatiue against melancholy , 1626

old words for stupid clodpate

Definition - a dull and stupid person

As noted above, many terms of abuse in English are formed by adding - head to an existing word. When the language got tired of using the word head it began using synonyms, such as pate . Many such words are now obscure, although a few, such as addlepated are still in occasional use. Clodpate is one of the more obscure ones.

Come you Clod-pate, you Black-moore, what sayst thou to me? I fall upon the Peripatetics (you say) as superficiall Philosophasters. — Thomas Vaughan, The man-mouse taken in a trap , 1650

image1336843081

Definition - blockhead

Doddypoll is an alteration of the Middle English dotypolle , a result of combining a word meaning “fool” ( dote ) with a word meaning … you guessed it, “head” ( poll ). The word has found use in the works of numerous writers since the 15th century , perhaps never so memorably as when Thomas Urquhart used it in his late 17th century translation of Rabelais.

The Cake-bakers were in nothing inclinable to their Request; but (which was worse) did injure them most outragiously, calling them pratling Gablers, lickorous Gluttons, freckled Bittors, mangy Rascals, shite-abed Scoundrels, drunken Roysters, sly Knaves, drowsie Loiterers, slapsauce Fellows, slabberdegullion Druggels, lubbardly Louts, cousining Foxes, ruffian Rogues, paultry Customers, sycophant Varlets, drawlatch Hoydons, flouting Milk sops, jeering Companions, staring Clowns, forlorn Snakes, ninny Lobcocks, scurvy Sneaksbies, fondling Fops, base Loons, saucy Coxcombs, idle Lusks, scoffing Braggards, noddy Meacocks, blockish Grut|nols, Doddipol Iolt heads, jobernol Goosecaps, foolish Loggerheads, slutch Calf lollies, grout-head Gnatsnapper, Lob dotterels, gaping Changelings, codshead Loobies, woodcock Slangams, ninny-hammer Flycatchers, noddipeak Simpletons, turgy Gut, shitten Shepherds, and other such defamatory Epithetes…. — François Rabelais, (trans. by T. Urquhart), The works of F. Rabelais , 1694

old words for stupid doddypoll

Definition - dullard

In stark contrast to the earlier words on this list, dulbert is not formed by combining a word with head , or one of its synonyms; it is thought to have been made by combining a word ( dull ) with a word for beard .

…unlesse you hold al men Dulberts like your rare workman of Winchester, who our master work men of London account a very bungler…. — Mark Ridley, Magneticall animadversions made by Marke Ridley , 1617

old words for stupid dulbert

Definition - numskull, nincompoop

Jobbernowl is not yet considered archaic, although it is encountered far less frequently than most of its synonyms (and mostly is found in British use). The origins of the word are somewhat in question, but it is believed to come in part from the Old Testament patriarch Job, making it one of our few words for “nincompoop” that come of biblical roots.

Thy father looking one way, and thy mother, For feare of being spide, she look'd another; And leering sundry waies, kept carefull watch, Lest any at their businesse should them catch. And that's the reason why thine eies doe rowle, And squint so in thy, doltish iobbernowle. — John Taylor, All the workes of Iohn Taylor , 1630

old words for stupid jobbernowl

Definition - a fool

Asinego is also defined as “a little ass,” and before everyone starts giggling we must inform you that the ass meaning “buttocks” and the ass meaning “silly person” are etymologically unrelated. The one that refers to the animal of the genus Equus (which is also the one that refers to the obstinate person) shares its origin (the Latin asinus ) with asinego .

But is he this very Asinego, so simple as to imagine, that he shall now recover by his malice, the credit he long since lost by his ignorance. — William Lilly, The world’s catastrophe , 1647

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Did Kristi Noem Just Doom Her Career?

She may have forgotten that Americans love dogs more than they love politicians.

Kristi Noem speaking at a podium in front of a giant American flag

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American voters have never been more polarized—except, perhaps, when it comes to the shared belief that shooting a puppy is wrong. Has Kristi Noem’s admission of such an act doomed her political future?

First, here are four new stories from The Atlantic :

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The Shot Read ’Round the World

Say this for Kristi Noem: She has an eye for literary detail.

The South Dakota governor is one week out from the publication of her new book, No Going Back (more on that title later). On Friday, The Guardian reported on one of the anecdotes Noem shares with her readers. In the book, the governor recalls the day she realized that her puppy, Cricket, had crossed the line from poorly behaved menace to, well, a problem that needed solving. Noem led Cricket to a gravel pit. Then she pulled the trigger. “It was not a pleasant job,” the governor writes. “But it had to be done.”

It’s the phrase gravel pit that stands out most—imagery fit for a Cormac McCarthy novel. Typically, campaign books don’t scream “literature.” They’re more or less marketing tools meant to showcase a politician’s character and leadership skills. Noem likely believed that recounting this saga (in addition to a story about killing a goat) would serve as a testament to her courage and her rural bona fides, endearing her to millions of potential voters. Instead, Noem publishing these sentences may one day be remembered as the gravest mistake of her career.

The backlash has been swift. Beyond Democrats and liberals seizing on the moment, even some Republicans and conservatives have offered condemnations. “Omg - now my blood is boiling,” the right-leaning social media influencer Catturd told his 2.4 million followers on X . “Remember, I’m a country boy who lives on a ranch. There’s a huge difference between putting an old horse down who is suffering, than shooting a 18 month dog for being untrainable.” In reality, Cricket appears to have been 14 months old. According to The Guardian , the puppy had attacked other animals, and Noem maintains she decided to put the dog down because it showed “aggressive behavior toward people by biting them.”

With some scandals, members of the American public have notoriously short memories, or at least they may be more inclined to forgive. But certain images never leave the collective psyche—especially when they involve dogs. This fundamental truth transcends politics. Michael Vick was one of the most dazzling NFL quarterbacks of the past quarter century, but you probably remember him first and foremost as the dog-fighting guy. The act of shooting a dog, as Noem did, is, for some, impossible to stomach. (Though once a dog has attacked a human, that calculus changes for others.) Canine execution was once the dark joke of the January 1973 death-themed issue of National Lampoon , the cover of which featured a man holding a revolver against a floppy ear along with the warning “ If You Don’t Buy This Magazine, We’ll Kill This Dog .” (The pup in question, Mr. Cheeseface, looks bewildered.)

What is it about dogs, in particular, that tugs at our core? In a recent essay for The Atlantic , Tommy Tomlinson, the author of the new book Dogland , offered his own unique admission : “By any measure, I loved my mom more than our dog. If I could bring one back, I’d pick her 100 times out of 100. So why, in the moment of their passing, did I cry for him but not for her?” Many dogs, even the bad ones, are seen as unimpeachable. Elected officials, not so much.

Noem is (was?) considered to be among former president Donald Trump’s top prospects for a 2024 running mate. Now she’ll have to fight to escape being branded the woman who once killed her own puppy. Many people seem to want her to express some form of contrition. On Friday, Noem posted a screenshot of the Guardian article, writing, “We love animals, but tough decisions like this happen all the time on a farm.” Then she plugged her book. “If you want more real, honest, and politically INcorrect stories that’ll have the media gasping, preorder ‘No Going Back.’”

Yesterday, with the online fervor still raging, Noem released a second statement , standing by the idea that shooting the puppy, rather than, say, putting it up for adoption, was the “right” thing to do. “I can understand why some people are upset about a 20 year old story of Cricket, one of the working dogs at our ranch, in my upcoming book— No Going Back ,” her statement read. “The book is filled with many honest stories of my life, good and bad days, challenges, painful decisions, and lessons learned … Whether running the ranch or in politics, I have never passed on my responsibilities to anyone else to handle. Even if it’s hard and painful. I followed the law and was being a responsible parent, dog owner, and neighbor. As I explained in the book, it wasn’t easy. But often the easy way isn’t the right way.”

No Going Back ’s subtitle— The Truth on What’s Wrong With Politics and How We Move America Forward —is the exact sort of phrase you expect to read in a studied politician’s carefully curated treatise. Many of these books are often quite rote, devices meant to serve as the starting point of a national campaign. A lot of them, but not all of them, are bland by design. Barack Obama’s Dreams From My Father is perhaps the most notable exception to the rule, but there are others. Jason Kander, once seen as an heir to Obama’s Democratic Party, published a memoir in 2018 about his time serving in Afghanistan and working in state politics that largely fit the political-book mold, right down to the title: Outside the Wire: Ten Lessons I’ve Learned in Everyday Courage . But four years later, he returned with a second memoir, Invisible Storm , showcasing edges of his life that he had sanded down in his first outing. The result was an honest and radically candid look at the depths of his PTSD .

Typically, but not always, political books are produced with the help of a ghostwriter. Noem’s publisher did not respond to my request for comment as to whether Noem used one.

This morning, I called the journalist Maximillian Potter, who collaborated with Senator John Hickenlooper of Colorado on his political memoir, The Opposite of Woe , and served as an editorial consultant on the Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen’s memoir, The Power of One . (Potter is also the co-author of an Atlantic investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct by the Hollywood mogul Bryan Singer.) He was careful to note that the Guardian report may not include the chapter’s full context; still, Noem has not refuted any of the details. What stood out most to Potter was how Noem, according to the report, writes that she “hated that dog.” “I’ve never heard anyone refer to a pet or an animal with hate . As a collaborator, that’s the word I would have discussed,” Potter told me. “I think part of a ghost or a collaborator’s job on projects like this is to not discourage the author from sharing their truth; it’s to be a thought partner and help them think through what it is they’re really trying to say.”

Potter also brought up an old political idiom, often attributed to Robert F. Kennedy (senior), later popularized by Chris Matthews: “Hang a lantern on your problem.” Maybe that’s what is really going on here. In the book, Noem reportedly notes that a construction crew watched her kill both the puppy and the goat. Perhaps, as her national profile grows, and as potential vetting for Trump’s VP gets under way, Noem sought to get in front of any potentially damaging story that might emerge through opposition research. (Her chief of communications did not respond to my request for an interview.)

Noem is midway through her second term as governor, and she’s ineligible for a third. No Going Back was supposed to be a prelude to her next chapter. Trump even blurbed it : “This book, it’s a winner.” But if he doesn’t pick Noem for VP, her new book’s title may have prophesied the end of her political story.

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Evening Read

detail from black-and-white photo of Albert Brooks with film equipment on set

The Godfather of American Comedy

By Adrienne LaFrance

Somewhere in the hills above Malibu, drenched in California sunshine and sitting side by side in a used white Volkswagen bug, two teenage boys realized they were lost … This was the early 1960s, and the boy driving the car was Albert Einstein—yes, this really was his given name, years before he changed it to Albert Brooks. Riding shotgun was his best friend and classmate from Beverly Hills High School, Rob Reiner. Brooks had inherited the car from one of his older brothers, and he’d made it his own by removing the handle of the stick shift and replacing it with a smooth brass doorknob. After several failed attempts to find the Pacific Coast Highway, which would take them home, Brooks and Reiner came upon a long fence surrounding a field where a single cow was grazing. Albert “stopped the car and he leaned out the window and he said, ‘Excuse me, sir! Sir?’ and the cow just looked up,” Reiner told me. “And he said, ‘How do you get back to the PCH?’ And the cow just did a little flick of his head, like he was flicking a fly away, and went back to eating.” Without missing a beat, Albert called out, “Thank you!” and confidently zoomed away. “I said, ‘Albert, you just took directions from a cow!’ And he said, ‘Yeah, but he lives around here. He knows the area.’ ”

Read the full article.

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Stephanie Bai contributed to this newsletter.

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Frank Bruni

Chris christie and bill barr have some explaining to do.

An illustration depicting two ballot boxes, one with an image of spilled milk on the front and the other with an image of a skull and crossbones.

By Frank Bruni

Mr. Bruni is a contributing Opinion writer who was on the staff of The Times for more than 25 years.

I admired the vigor and even eloquence with which Chris Christie, quixotically campaigning for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, made the case against Donald Trump. And I wrote as much .

But what he warrants today isn’t praise. It’s a lesson in chemistry. It’s a tutorial on beverages.

A little more than a week ago, during a public appearance at the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics, Christie told Leigh Ann Caldwell of The Washington Post that he would never back Trump in November but that he also couldn’t bring himself to vote for President Biden. To explain his Biden aversion, Christie used a vocabulary more appropriate for spoiled milk.

“President Biden, in my view, is past the sell-by date,” he said .

The sell-by date matters when you’re purchasing dairy and you have better, fresher alternatives. But when you’re choosing a president and the other candidate is arsenic?

That’s pretty much how Christie spent much of last year describing Trump — as a civic toxin, a poison to us all. And if drinking spoiled milk is the protection against arsenic, you drink the spoiled milk. One means a possible tummy ache. The other can lead to lesions, cancer, even death.

In 2016 and 2020, Trump was a catalyst for bizarre moral relativism and pitiable moral surrender, and it’s happening again.

Christie calculates a false equivalence between Biden, whose policies he opposes and whose years are showing, and Trump, whose character and conduct Christie professedly reviles.

Bill Barr, the former attorney general who saw up close how Trump tried to subvert the peaceful transfer of power and who said in August that Trump “shouldn’t be anywhere near the Oval Office,” now supports his return to it . Barr’s position, it seems, is that Trump’s lawlessness pales beside Biden’s liberalism and that authoritarianism is a small price to pay for keeping the woke social justice warriors at bay.

Then there’s Chris Sununu, the New Hampshire governor, who was all in for Nikki Haley until she was all out of hope. He’s now on Team Trump, as he confirmed last month during an inexpressibly depressing interview on the ABC News show “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos, who was dumbfounded, given Sununu’s past characterizations of Trump.

“You support him for president, even though you believe he contributed to an insurrection,” Stephanopoulos said, trying to make sure he understood Sununu correctly. “You support him for president, even though you believe he’s lying about the last election.”

“Yeah,” Sununu answered. “Me and 51 percent of America.”

That “51 percent” part gets to me as much as the rest of it: Trump is tolerable because many Americans (if not the “51 percent” that Sununu essentially invented) say he is. Must give the people whatever they want. I’m reminded of what our parents said to us when we argued for permission for something because all our friends were being allowed to do it: If those friends are jumping off a bridge, should you? Sununu’s answer, it seems, is yes. He’s jumping, along with all the other Republicans in moral free fall.

The conservative Daily Beast columnist Matt Lewis recently looked at a few of the most prominent of those Republicans , venting disgust over the rationalizations of not only Barr and Sununu but also Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, who once strongly denounced Trump’s part in the events of Jan. 6, 2021. Shocker of shockers: McConnell will vote for him in November.

“Keep in mind, following Trump’s second impeachment trial in 2021, McConnell said that ‘Trump’s actions preceding the riot were a disgraceful dereliction of duty’ and that ‘there is no question that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of that day,’” Lewis wrote. “Supporting a man McConnell has clearly deemed unfit for the office may make McConnell craven, cynical or absurd, but he’s not alone in his decision.” Far from it.

Christie at least isn’t supporting Trump. That’s something. And it’s a reason that he can hold his head higher than Sununu, Barr or McConnell can. But we’re talking inches, not yards, because his joint dismissals of Trump and Biden as similarly unsavory options gut his own appraisal, during that appearance in Chicago, of Trump as someone “wholly unfit to be president of the United States in every way you think.”

I’m not saying that Christie should be enthusiastic about Biden, that I don’t understand his qualms about the president or that I expect Christie and other longtime Republicans to have some sudden ideological conversion because their party’s nominee is such a grave threat. I’m asking Christie to remember that less than six months ago, he called Trump “a dictator.” And seemed to believe that.

But last week in Chicago he lumped Trump and Biden together: “If the American people are stupid enough to nominate these two guys, doesn’t mean I have to be stupid, too.” No, but the smart way to bar someone “wholly unfit” from the White House is to vote for that person’s opponent. That’s how elections work. “None of the above” isn’t a principled stand. It’s a moral cop-out — and its own dereliction of duty.

For the Love of Sentences

Much like Gary Shteyngart’s article on the world’s biggest cruise ship a few weeks back, Ron Charles’s appraisal in The Washington Post of Danielle Steel’s new novel, “Only the Brave,” was a start-to-finish jamboree of shining sentences: “By my count, ‘Only the Brave’ is Steel’s 152nd novel, but her publicist tells me, ‘It is closer to her 170th.’ Apparently, the actual number can only be guessed at, in the same way the total mass of dark matter in the universe is estimated by how it bends light.” Also: “In the months leading up to this week’s publication, Steel’s publicist reached out repeatedly to insist that I not mention that the author is a 76-year-old romance novelist. As always, we’re never ashamed of the right things.” (Thanks to Joan Pantsios of Chicago and William Harrison of Kelowna, British Columbia, among others, for drawing attention to Charles’s review.)

Speaking of book reviews — my Times colleague Dwight Garner weighed in memorably on both a memoir and a collection of essays by Joseph Epstein: “Epstein favors tasseled loafers and bow ties, and most of his sentences read as if they were written by a sentient tasseled loafer and edited by a sentient bow tie.” (Kevin Callahan, Forest Hills, N.Y., and Elinor Nauen, Manhattan)

Sticking with The Times, which was the source of most of your nominations over the past week — Margaret Lyons perfectly described the main character of the messy but mesmerizing “Baby Reindeer,” a new Netflix series about an aspiring stand-up comedian and his stalker: “Donny recognizes and articulates the dangers of wanting fame, how it warps his judgment but also could solve his problems. (One person knowing your darkest secret is unbearable, but a million people knowing it is stardom.) Agony and attention are bound together here — Look at me! No, not like that! — twin snakes choking the life out of their prey.” (Linda Trocki, La Quinta, Calif., and Stephen Ranger, Toronto)

And Maggie Haberman and Jonah E. Bromwich used a wide-angle lens to look at Trump’s current criminal trial. “Eventually, the case could threaten not only Mr. Trump’s freedom but also the central tenets of a lifelong ethos ever-present in the former president’s patter: a convenient disregard for the truth, the blunt denial of anything damaging and a stubborn insistence that his adversaries are always acting in bad faith,” they wrote. (Cynthia Croasdaile, Portland, Ore., and Veronica Stinson, Halifax, Nova Scotia, among others)

In The Atlantic, Thomas Chatterton Williams rued the “impersonal, tech-saturated” sameness of a new generation of cars: “Could a child ever dream about a Lucid or Rivian? These are generically good-looking, low-emissions vehicles that only a cyborg could lust over. They are songs sung through Auto-Tune, with clever and forgettable lyrics composed by ChatGPT.” (Marjorie Ivey, St. Louis)

In The Guardian, Ryan Busse pivoted from Kristi Noem to another Republican governor with animals in his sights, Greg Gianforte of Montana: “In 2021, Gianforte illegally shot and killed a collared Yellowstone wolf that had its leg caught in a steel-jawed trap. He wanted to stuff the wolf and display it in his office — presumably without its radio collar, which would have dampened the effect he was going for.” (Kurt Griffin, Sioux Falls, S.D.)

To return to The Washington Post — Michael Dirda’s review of Anne Curzan’s “Says Who? A Kinder, Funner Usage Guide for Everyone Who Cares About Words” included this rumination on writing: “Effective prose, in truth, doesn’t resemble conversation. It’s more like sculpting with clay. You start with an inchoate mass, shape it a bit, hate the result, start over, try this, try that, give up, slink away in disgust, come back, work some more and eventually end up with something that looks vaguely like a pot or an essay.” (James Martin Thompson, Washington)

Having begun with Ron Charles, I’ll also end with him. In a recent Washington Post newsletter, he marveled at the actress Judi Dench’s astonishing ability to recite most of the lines from her long-ago parts in Shakespeare plays. “Such memorization is a lost art,” he wrote, adding that when he stares at the ceiling at night, “My mind is a tangle of bits of string, and all I can come up with is something like: ‘The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. Won’t you lay me down in the tall grass and let me do my stuff?’” For those of you not fluent in Fleetwood Mac, that last sentence is a lyric from the song “ Second Hand News .” (Denise Showers, Janesville, Wis.)

To nominate favorite bits of recent writing from The Times or other publications to be mentioned in “For the Love of Sentences,” please email me here and include your name and place of residence.

What I’m Doing, Planning and Reading

I spoke about my new book, “The Age of Grievance,” which came out this week, on “The Bulwark Podcast” with Tim Miller, and The Free Press just published the latest excerpt from it , about some of the particular ways in which the modern American economy sows envy and resentment. As someone whose diminished eyesight has made him a big and grateful consumer of audiobooks, I found it meaningful to do “The Age of Grievance” narration myself; here are its first five minutes . In the coming days and weeks, I’ll be making appearances in Montclair, N.J. ; Philadelphia ; and Washington, among other cities: My full schedule is on my website, where you’ll also find a range of information about the book. Also, I just added another event near my Chapel Hill, N.C., home, at McIntyre’s Books in Fearrington Village, on May 23; more details on that here .

Two Times colleagues whom I like and respect immensely have books of their own coming out in the next few weeks. “ Chasing Hope” is Nick Kristof’s look back at his extraordinary journalism career, including his travels to places most of us have never been and will never see. “ Trippy: The Perils and Promise of Medicinal Psychedelics ” is Ernesto Londoño’s mix of candid personal reflection and deep reporting, illuminating a growing trend in mental health that many of us don’t understand.

Campus protests have riveted and divided Americans and led to bitterly tense scenes such as the arrests on Tuesday night of protesters who had barricaded themselves inside Hamilton Hall at Columbia University. How to make sense of it all? Two of the best recent takes came from George Packer in The Atlantic and Lydia Polgreen in The Times . I don’t agree with every paragraph or sentence that each of them wrote, but that’s not what I’m looking for in a piece of journalism, especially one covering such an important topic. I’m looking to be made smarter and to understand the dynamics of a situation more fully, and I’m looking for analysis that seeks to lower rather than raise the temperature. Both articles fill that bill.

On a Personal Note

I was happy to include a few lines about the Netflix series “Baby Reindeer” in this week’s For the Love of Sentences section not only because the lines in question are terrific but also because they reminded me to say a few words of my own about the show.

It’s definitely not for everyone. It’s harrowingly dark, and it’s also repetitive, revisiting or lingering on developments and details that have been amply examined. Streaming services these days seem to take the approach that any story that can be told in X number of hours or installments should be given 25 to 50 percent more time than that. Bloat is a given.

But little that I’ve watched lately gripped and haunted me the way “Baby Reindeer” did. It’s the story, based on real events, of a struggling (really, failing) comedian and his stalker, and it is so raw and so true on the subject of human neediness that it’s a gut punch. Who among us hasn’t felt some version of the desperation that these characters do? Hasn’t made awful choices just for the sake of having company, of being seen, of being admired, no matter the flaws, delusions and demands of the admirer?

“Baby Reindeer” isn’t a simple perpetrator-and-victim tale. It examines how we see and don’t see what’s right in front of us, depending on what we’re intent on believing. That’s true in politics, as the past few years have vividly demonstrated. But it’s even truer when we’re looking for love. Or hope. Or just the barest smidgen of affirmation.

Frank Bruni is a professor of journalism and public policy at Duke University, the author of the book "The Age of Grievance" and a contributing Opinion writer. He writes a weekly email newsletter .   Instagram   Threads   @ FrankBruni • Facebook

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  1. 40+ Ways to Say STUPID in english

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  2. Other Ways to Say STUPID in English

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  3. Another Word For STUPID: 30 Useful Synonyms For Stupid In English

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  4. 27 Ways to Say STUPID in English

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  5. Other words for stupid

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  6. Another Word For Stupid : 24 Brilliant New Words That Must Be Added To

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COMMENTS

  1. STUPID Synonyms: 447 Similar and Opposite Words

    Synonyms for STUPID: dumb, slow, simple, thick, idiotic, foolish, dull, ignorant; Antonyms of STUPID: brilliant, smart, clever, intelligent, quick, bright, apt, fast

  2. What is another word for stupid?

    out cold. rash. careless. negligent. neglectful. daydreaming. spaced-out. more . "The vast majority of people would probably be considered stupid when compared to a genius like Albert Einstein.".

  3. Alternative Ways to Say "Stupid": Formal and Informal Options

    Gaining a versatile vocabulary is always valuable, especially when you're trying to express yourself in different social contexts. While the term "stupid" is commonly used to denote a lack of intelligence or common sense, it's good to be aware of alternative words and phrases that can effectively convey the same meaning. In this guide, we'll explore both formal and informal ways to say "stupid ...

  4. An inoffensive word for "stupid"?

    9. Deficient in knowledge or learning; characterized by a certain lack of acuteness or quick apprehension: . . . you can always backpeddle if need be, falling back on gentler senses, such as: Free from duplicity, dissimulation, or guile; innocent and harmless; undesigning, honest, open, straightforward.

  5. 9 Different Ways To Say "Stupid"

    Other people can get on our nerves, and it isn't always because they are "stupid." Here are 9 other words to use for those forehead-slapping moments.

  6. 62 Synonyms & Antonyms for STUPID

    Find 62 different ways to say STUPID, along with antonyms, related words, and example sentences at Thesaurus.com.

  7. 180+ Synonyms for "Stupid" with Examples

    Pin. Stupid Meaning "Stupid" refers to a lack of intelligence or common sense. Here's how the word might be used in sentences: For example: "The company's decision to reject the beneficial deal was stupid." "Playing with fireworks indoors is an incredibly stupid idea."; List of Synonyms for Stupid

  8. 14 of the Best 'Stupid' Synonyms

    Here are some of the best, most useful, as well as some of the most unusual synonyms for 'stupid' and 'stupidity' (and for foolish people). MORONIC. This word literally comes from the Greek for 'dull': 'oxymoron', denoting a phrase containing two opposites, literally means 'sharp-dull'. Someone who is moronic or a moron is ...

  9. Stupid Synonyms

    The word "stupid" commonly defines a lack of intelligence and is mainly used in informal speech. In a broader sense, it can be understood as a restricted state of mind. Another word for "stupid" is unintelligent or foolish. However, more synonyms will be listed in this article.

  10. Synonyms of STUPID

    Whether you're in search of a crossword puzzle, a detailed guide to tying knots, or tips on writing the perfect college essay, Harper Reference has you covered for all your study needs. February 13, 2020 Read more

  11. STUPID

    STUPID - Article page with synonyms and phrases | Cambridge English Thesaurus

  12. STUPID in Thesaurus: 1000+ Synonyms & Antonyms for STUPID

    Most related words/phrases with sentence examples define Stupid meaning and usage. Thesaurus for Stupid Related terms for stupid - synonyms, antonyms and sentences with stupid

  13. 40+ Ways to Say STUPID in english

    Inane - Devoid of intelligence or meaning. Ridiculous - Invoking laughter or mockery due to being absurd or irrational. Foolhardy - Displaying recklessness or a lack of caution. Witless - Lacking intelligence or understanding. Dumb - Displaying a lack of intelligence or good judgment. Clueless - Having no understanding or awareness ...

  14. Another Word for STUPID: 30 Useful Synonyms for Stupid in English

    Silly. My best friend tells me that I am silly to be upset about this. Foolish. I thought the whole idea was just a foolish and dangerous delusion. Idiotic. I am rather chary of making too many idiotic mistakes. Thick. Sometimes, you can be really thick. Gormless.

  15. stupid

    The meaning of stupid. Definition of stupid. English dictionary and integrated thesaurus for learners, writers, teachers, and students with advanced, intermediate, and beginner levels.

  16. 40 Useful Words and Phrases for Top-Notch Essays

    4. That is to say. Usage: "That is" and "that is to say" can be used to add further detail to your explanation, or to be more precise. Example: "Whales are mammals. That is to say, they must breathe air.". 5. To that end. Usage: Use "to that end" or "to this end" in a similar way to "in order to" or "so".

  17. DUMB Synonyms: 254 Similar and Opposite Words

    Synonyms for DUMB: silent, speechless, mute, mum, inarticulate, muted, wordless, uncommunicative; Antonyms of DUMB: speaking, communicative, talking, eloquent ...

  18. Stupid Person synonyms

    Another way to say Stupid Person? Synonyms for Stupid Person (other words and phrases for Stupid Person). Synonyms for Stupid person. 656 other terms for stupid person- words and phrases with similar meaning. Lists. synonyms. antonyms. definitions. sentences. thesaurus. words. phrases. Parts of speech. nouns. adjectives. Tags. offensive. person.

  19. 30 Ways to Say, "You're Stupid"

    dumbhead. lamebrain. pea-brain. birdbrain. numbskull. halfwit. dimwit. Words for mental conditions. Some words used to call a person stupid or foolish were or, in some contexts still are, medical or legal terms.

  20. Narrative Essays

    The introduction of a narrative essay sets the scene for the story that follows. Interesting introductions—for any kind of writing—engage and draw readers in because they want to know more. ... Those words rang in my head for hours as I thought about what a stupid decision I had made three nights before. Sound effect "SNAP!" I heard the ...

  21. CMV word counts on essays are stupid and should be gotten rid of

    Given the vast array of possible analysis, a word count is not only not stupid, it is practically required to provide an idea of scope. While I agree providing a range like "between 2000 & 2500" or an allowed variance "3000 words +/-500" would be best, even providing just a minimum is better than no guideline.

  22. Word count requirements on essays are fucking stupid

    Word count requirements on essays are fucking stupid . Professors complain about "too much filler in essays" but goddamn, why are you making us write 2000 words! If I can answer the question in 600 words using 2 or 3 pages, why force me to write 1,500 words? ... If you complete a 3000-word essay in 500 words, you should be tipped off that you ...

  23. '50 Completely True Things,' a Palestinian-American's call for

    The post — witty, profane and anguished — got a polite if unspectacular response on Threads, which is owned by Meta. Three days ago Husseini re-upped the post as an essay on the self ...

  24. Ye Olde Nincompoop: Old-Fashioned Words for 'Stupid ...

    Definition - a dull and stupid person. As noted above, many terms of abuse in English are formed by adding -head to an existing word. When the language got tired of using the word head it began using synonyms, such as pate.Many such words are now obscure, although a few, such as addlepated are still in occasional use. Clodpate is one of the more obscure ones.

  25. Did Kristi Noem just doom her career?

    In a recent essay for The Atlantic, Tommy Tomlinson, the author of the new book Dogland, offered his own unique admission: "By any measure, I loved my mom more than our dog. If I could bring one ...

  26. Book Report On The Other Wes Moore

    Stupid White Men Essay I. Synopsis In his most compelling and defensive book to date, Michael Moore returns to the world of politics to size up the new century. Stupid White Men and Other Sorry Excuses for the State of the Nation attacks the big, ugly special-interest group that's laying waste to the world as we know it: stupid white men.

  27. Emmanuel Macron in his own words (English)

    In other words, trade comes second. Geopolitics has taken over from geo-economics, and I believe that this is one of the fundamentals of the new grammar, and it represents a profound break with ...

  28. Chris Christie and Bill Barr Have Some Explaining to Do

    You start with an inchoate mass, shape it a bit, hate the result, start over, try this, try that, give up, slink away in disgust, come back, work some more and eventually end up with something ...