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Renaissance loser in this context

Dilbert: Wally, are you free for lunch? I need to remind myself how lucky I am that I don't have your laziness or personality or looks.

Wally: Would you say I'm kind of a renaissance loser?

Does it describe people who have multiple attributes of a loser? So can renaissance be used to address things with multiple attributes like people who know art and science?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

Yes, your explanation is along the right lines.

Renaissance loser is a play on the phrase renaissance man, which is someone who is thought to be an expert in many fields. This is similar to the word polymath.

So Wally is suggesting that he has become the epitome of a loser in many fields. This could, in fact, be seen as the antonym of renaissance man.

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A singificant proportion of Google's 91 results for 'Renaissance loser' reference OP's Dilbert cartoon, so it's hardly a standard expression. I realise using "loser" this way has become common, but I still think it's a "low-brow" alternative to Renaissance Man manque. –  FumbleFingers Nov 19 '11 at 13:52
    
@FumbleFingers — I didn't mean to imply that renaissance loser is a common expression, or an idiom. This is the first time I have heard it. –  Matt Эллен Nov 19 '11 at 14:20
    
Nor did I intend any criticism of what you wrote, which all seems perfectly correct to me. I was just pointing out that I think to a considerable extent "loser" here is being used the way many of us have long been using "manque". And explicitly making the point that "Renaissance loser" is not really a "set phrase". –  FumbleFingers Nov 19 '11 at 14:28
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