Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Word of the day: stultify

The word of the day is stultify:
  1. to make, or cause to appear, foolish or ridiculous.
  2. to render absurdly or wholly futile or ineffectual, especially by degrading or frustrating means: Menial work can stultify the mind.
  3. Law. to allege or prove (oneself or another) to be of unsound mind.
1766, "allege to be of unsound mind" (legal term), from L.L. stultificare "turn into foolishness," from L. stultus "foolish" + root of facere "to make" (see factitious). The first element is cognate with L. stolidus "slow, dull, obtuse" (see stolid). Meaning "cause to appear foolish or absurd" is from 1809.


"Heidegger’s implicit hope was that the human ability to draw a distinction between technological and nontechnological perception would release us from 'the stultified compulsion to push on blindly with technology.'"

 - James McWilliams, "Saving the Self on the Age of the Selfie", Spring 2016 The American Scholar (

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