What would describe someone who puts on a façade of stupidity, but is actually much smarter than they appear? I would say that this is the oppposite of pretentious.

I have looked all over the web and Stack and I cannot find it. I was told that I once said it and that it was a noun, and that I said it was found in a book.

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    That's "playing dumb". – Hot Licks Feb 6 '16 at 1:54
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    "Disingenuous" comes to mind, too. – Rob_Ster Feb 6 '16 at 2:22
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    @Rob_Ster: You should make that an answer. – Joe L. Feb 6 '16 at 5:03
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    How about Columbo? – Jim Feb 6 '16 at 5:11
  • +1 to disingenuous, which can be read as "falsely acting like an ingenue [naive]." There's also words like taciturn but that's much more passive than disingenuous. – stevesliva Feb 6 '16 at 6:18

The word I would use is sandbagging

"Sandbagging, hiding the strength, skill or difficulty of something or someone early in an engagement"

This is usually used in the context of hiding your abilities to gain some sort of advantage, but why else would you deliberately try to appear less smart than you are?


George Bush ... ?

No more seriously; humble may fit the situation though one who is humble does not play dumb; Let me think ... politic; shrewd; artful or even wily, there is quite a list of synonyms for this many of which have a derogatory feel to them; however, in the positive one may go so far as to say a sage, and perhaps even a jester; I am not certain that these words today are so very well understood.

Could it be, the King who obliges the sage to become a fool?

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