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Fatuous means stupid.

Does its etymology relate to fat? Are fat and stupid correlated?

closed as off-topic by choster, Kris, Mitch, Matt E. Эллен, Kristina Lopez Oct 17 '13 at 14:24

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    This is general reference. A dictionary would give you both words' etymologies. – Kaiser Octavius Oct 17 '13 at 5:28
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    Do not guess, ask a dictionary. – Kris Oct 17 '13 at 7:31
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    Since etymonline lists fatuous's etymology as "of uncertain origin", I think it's a legitimate question that can be answered with something more than just copying the dictionary's etymology. – Avner Shahar-Kashtan Oct 17 '13 at 8:55
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    @AvnerShahar-Kashtan the origin of fatuous is not uncertain - it comes from the Latin word fatuus. Fatuus is of uncertain origin. That's not the same thing. Since the origin of fat is very different, it's quite clear that the two are unrelated. – Matt E. Эллен Oct 17 '13 at 14:13
  • @AvnerShahar-Kashtan +1. This same question possessed me. – Greek - Area 51 Proposal May 31 '15 at 3:31
7

It seems unlikely. Etymonline links fatuous to

Latin fatuus "foolish, insipid, silly;"

while fat hails from

Old English fætt "fat, fatted, plump, obese," originally a contracted past participle of fættian "to cram, stuff," from Proto-Germanic *faitaz "fat"

With one word hailing from Latin while the other from Proto-Germanic, it seems unlikely they have a shared origin.

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    In fact (if the link with fatuus is indeed correct), they cannot have a shared origin, unless Latin borrowed the word from Germanic, which does not seem likely. As the native Latin word pinguis ‘fat’ (from the same root) shows, the Latin form should have been *patuus if anything (and an a in the first syllable would be very hard to account for as well). Sadly, etymonline does not mention my favourite cognate with ‘fat’, which is Ireland (the fat/fertile land). – Janus Bahs Jacquet Oct 17 '13 at 10:17
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Definitely from Latin, it has the same meaning of several similar words in neo-Latin languages.

  • Thanks for your contribution, but substantiated answers are preferred on this site, so as to distinguish them from mere opinions. Would you please supplement your answer with links, references, examples, etc. to support it. – TrevorD Oct 17 '13 at 14:20

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