Am looking for a word that loosely means inability to think in certain ways.

For example, for lyricists (or writers) lyrics come so naturally, but for non-lyricists it's very difficult to think how lyricists write lyrics— it's a mindset or thinking pattern difference. The same can be for screenplay writers or artists. The same can be for lock-pickers and non lock-pickers. It's loosely the ability or inability to think along particular lines.

Is there a word that correctly captures what I am trying to say?

  • Some people say, "I just wasn't cut out for that job." Or my brain just wasn't wired that way. As far as a single word goes you might get away with: ill-equipped
    – Jim
    Nov 28, 2013 at 6:40
  • Most lyricists do not know 'how lyricists write lyrics'; true of most other 'ists' as well. Doing well is not the same as 'knowing' how it's done. A mechanic 'does' fix your car better than an automobile engineer who 'knows' about it.
    – Kris
    Nov 28, 2013 at 7:58
  • @Kris got the nuance of what you are saying .thanks !
    – sashank
    Nov 28, 2013 at 8:04

6 Answers 6


I'd say given person's mind is boxed in. That's where thinking outside the box becomes essential.


The best word I can think of, and which is often used in a humorous sense, is impaired.

OED. humorous. Lacking or deficient in the attribute or field specified. eg. from OED: knowledge impaired, humour impaired, financially impaired

Another good example and a personal favourite is irony-impaired.

  • This works in the right context, but is does not exclusively fit the OP's definition, which is "the inability to think in certain ways".
    – Dodgie
    Nov 30, 2013 at 6:46

I think "predisposed" can be used to show how a person is preconditioned or not-conditioned to do a certain act. To answer your question - example - Since Tim's parents are musicians, he can assumed to be predisposed with musical skills.

Another word which comes to my mind is "Knack". It can be used to show how someone has a specific talent. Again as an example - Tim is good with musical instruments, and yet he doesn't have the knack to come up with original tunes like his brother has.


I think a related concept is 'gifted'. There are 'gifted' musicians, 'gifted' writers, no doubt 'gifted' car mechanics too. If you have a particular aptitude for something you are said to be 'gifted' at that thing.

So if you have an inability to think in the ways of a lyricist, one might say you are 'not gifted' with that ability.

  • What's this down voting all about?
    – WS2
    Nov 28, 2013 at 11:26
  • 1
    I don't know, but I wonder if people reacted to your first sentence and didn't bother to read the rest of the answer. I tried to make that less likely with a small edit.
    – J.R.
    Nov 28, 2013 at 12:45
  • @J.R. I think a lot of it has to do with the society we live in today. The popular zeitgeist is that people are supposed to be able to do anything if they put their minds to it (I blame the self-improvement industry!). The idea of some people being 'gifted' is seen negatively, which is ridiculous.
    – WS2
    Nov 28, 2013 at 12:59
  • You think the downvoters may have bristled at the idea that some people are gifted? I guess we'll never know for sure. Who knows? Maybe one downvoter didn't read your whole answer, and the other doesn't like the notion of gifted individuals.
    – J.R.
    Nov 28, 2013 at 13:03
  • @J.R. A couple of years ago I read 'Smile or Die' by Barbara Ehrenreich. It is an interesting criticism of the 'self-improvement' industry, and how, in her view, far from inspiring people, it damages their lives' chances. Interestingly she traces its origins to the founding of Christian Science in the mid-nineteenth century; that being the point at which, she says, the American puritan idea of predestination was first seriously challenged. She introduces some profound ideas. It's very interesting.
    – WS2
    Nov 28, 2013 at 14:13

Google define "Blinkered" or 'close-minded'

limited in scope or understanding

1 : limited in scope or understanding : narrow-minded. 2 : fitted with blinkers. (https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-d&q=define+blinkered) and;

As an example use: "The fault doesn’t wholly lie with Clegg, who as the company’s head of global affairs is no doubt hemmed in by Zuckerberg’s own blinkered vision".

Washington Post, "Facebook Isn’t Making Any New Friends In Brussels," 3 Apr. 2019 (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/blinkered#h1)


imperceptive or untalented (note: doesn't exclusively refer to thinking) may work euphemistically.

for intance:

the man is an untalented lyricist.


(you can see how this is more euphemistic (and I think adequately expressive))

the man is an imperceptive lyricist.

  • Those are way more general than was asked and even mainly mean something totally different.
    – skymningen
    Nov 28, 2013 at 8:01
  • 1
    I agree. I've revised in an attempt to salvage. To be fair, though, he did say "loosely means".
    – Dodgie
    Nov 28, 2013 at 8:17

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