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  1. Over the top's Avatar
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    #1

    dummies

    Hello
    What does dummies mean? as in Christianity for dummies, English for dummies. My dictionary gives me stupids but I don't know how it is English for stupid persons?

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    #2

    Re: dummies

    Quote Originally Posted by Over the top View Post
    Hello
    What does dummies mean? as in Christianity for dummies, English for dummies. My dictionary gives me stupids but I don't know how it is English for stupid persons?
    And I also checked "dummy" on my dictionary and gave me these answers.

    1) STUPID PERSON (a stupid or silly person).
    2) MODEL (a large model of a human, especially one used to show clothes in a shop).
    3) NOT REAL (something that is not real and is used for practice or to deceive).
    4) Smooth rubber or plastic object that is given to a baby to suck in order to comfort it and make it stop crying.

    You will get the appropriate answer with the context.

  2. davidbailey's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: dummies

    Yes! Dummies is a synonym for 'stupid people'...
    As in a stupid or foolish person who does not know how to do something.

    Dummies is plural for 'dummy'...
    And 'dummy' is a form of 'dumb'

    A 'dumb' person often refers to someone who is mute and cannot talk.

    So, you can say:

    He is 'dumb'
    He is a 'dummy'
    They are 'dummies'

  3. Over the top's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: dummies

    I am shocked because English has one word for stupid and mute people. Mute people are not stupid anyway.

  4. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: dummies

    The whole series about X for Dummies means that the material is presented in such a simple manner that even a "dummy" can understand it.

    Someone who is mute is dumb, but you would NEVER use "dummy" to refer to a person who could not speak.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  5. BobK's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: dummies

    Quote Originally Posted by Over the top View Post
    I am shocked because English has one word for stupid and mute people. Mute people are not stupid anyway.
    It would be shocking if it were true, but:

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    ...

    Someone who is mute is dumb, but you would NEVER use "dummy" to refer to a person who could not speak.
    And this is not a question of 'political correctness'. "Dummy" just doesn't mean "mute".

    (When the word 'dumb' was first used with the meaning "stupid" [a usage that still persists in the collocation "dumb blonde" = which is objectionable for other reasons] it was insensitive. But insensitivity and etymology are close bed-fellows!)

    b

  6. BobK's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: dummies

    PS: correction
    Quote Originally Posted by Over the top View Post
    I am shocked because that or if English has one word for stupid and mute people...
    To use "because" after "shocked", you need a comma (which needs to be justified - you can't just 'fix it' by inserting a comma). For example: 'I am shocked, because that's no way to speak to a lady.'


    b

  7. Raymott's Avatar
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    #8

    Re: dummies

    However, don't be surprised when you see 'dumb' being used as an antonym of 'smart'. It's not as obsolete as it should be.

    God, you're dumb! You dumb-ass! (dumb-arse).
    And they are still making movies called "Dumb and Dumber" where the reference is to lack of intelligence.

  8. Ouisch's Avatar
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    #9

    Re: dummies

    Unfortunately, one of the earliest meanings of the word "dumb" was "unable to speak," as in "Princess Diana was so shocked by the size of the crowd that welcomed her that she was momentarily struck dumb" (meaning she was temporarily speechless). Of course, the meaning of "dumb" eventually evolved to mean a stupid or unintelligent person. It is now considered offensive to refer to a deaf/mute as being "deaf and dumb." (And, just for educational purposes, let it be known that Deaf/Mutes do not speak by choice. There is nothing wrong with their vocal cords, they just prefer not to speak because quite often their voices sound strange [since they cannot hear themselves speak] and they are mocked by hearing people when they attempt speech.)

  9. emsr2d2's Avatar
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    #10

    Re: dummies

    Words with double meanings (or even triple or quadruple meanings) always cause problems for students of English.

    No attempt was made to say that "mute" people are "stupid" but unfortunately, the same word is used to mean both.

    These days, if someone said to me "He's dumb", my first assumption would be that they meant "He's stupid" and my second thought would be "Oh, perhaps they mean he can't speak instead".

    Here's another (rather silly) example:

    Short : lacking in height.
    Short : lacking in money.

    "My friend's a bit short."

    What do you think I mean? Do think I mean that my friend isn't very tall, or that she doesn't have much money at the moment? Without clarification or context, it's impossible to tell.

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