It was odd that Apple even offered him a job. During his eight years at Adobe, most recently as chief technology officer, he was best known as the only person dumb enough to publicly fight Steve Jobs over the iPhone’s lack of support for Flash videos.

Wired Magazine, iPhone Killer: The Secret History of the Apple Watch; undated

How do I interpret person dumb in this quote?

closed as off-topic by FumbleFingers, tchrist, Edwin Ashworth, Canis Lupus, choster Apr 6 '15 at 15:54

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...dumb enough to...

is a derogatory descriptive term of the subject of the sentence and means

stupid enough to...


foolhardy enough to...

so in this case, it means

he was best known as the only person who was stupid enough to argue with Steve Jobs


You are parsing the phrase a bit wrong. "Dumb" here belongs to "dumb enough to". You can rephrase the chunk to:

... the only person who was dumb enough to...

  • 1
    alternately, perhaps "... the only dumb-enough person to ..." – talrnu Apr 6 '15 at 13:17
  • That mistake is so absurd – JuanRocamonde Apr 6 '15 at 13:46
  • 1
    @talrnu: That would be a fairly uncommon usage in the first place, but I really don't think anyone would include the hyphen in the written form. Nobody hyphenates, say, I'm not a good enough person – FumbleFingers Apr 6 '15 at 13:46
  • @FumbleFingers It's probably uncommon formally, but in casual (maybe only American?) speech I think this style is used frequently enough for it to be a helpful alternate illustration of the original sentence's meaning. As for the hyphen, I'm not sure your example with the indefinite article aligns well enough with my usage. Regardless, I doubt it detracts from the meaning or clarity enough to warrant protracted discussion. – talrnu Apr 6 '15 at 18:22
  • @talrnu: My essential point was that including a hyphen in the written form is non-standard. As for the rest, I think it's a bit disappointing there are so many people keen to upvote an answer to a question that so clearly belongs on English Language Learners – FumbleFingers Apr 6 '15 at 18:33

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