I was taking a Wonderlic test and got somewhat confused by one of the questions. The question was:

CREDIBLE CREDULOUS - Do these words...

[] Have similar meanings
[] Have contradictory meanings
[] Have unrelated meanings

Now, I do know the definition of each word. Credible means trustworthy, easily believed by others. Credulous means gullible, easily believes others. But are these meanings similar (both have to do with one person believing another) or opposite (everyone believes you vs you believe everyone)? I feel like either answer could be easily argued both for and against, but as a non-native English speaker maybe I'm just missing something. They are neither synonyms nor antonyms, so what's the best answer?

closed as off-topic by DJClayworth, David, Davo, FumbleFingers, RaceYouAnytime Sep 15 '17 at 19:49

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  • A credulous source is also a non-credible one, because how could you rely on a person's information if they had just picked it up from any old place? So I'd say contradictory. I wouldn't say unrelated, because they're both connected to 'belief' - but I wouldn't say similar, either. – rjpond Sep 14 '17 at 20:18
  • 3
    The best answer is "Who the **** wrote this stupid test and what the **** were they thinking??". :-) Seriously, it's a junk question. – Hellion Sep 14 '17 at 20:20
  • @Hellion I'm not sure who wrote it, but it was an official supervised Mensa test at my university. – Egor Sep 14 '17 at 20:27
  • Are you allowed to check all three options, or is it strictly "pick one"? – Hellion Sep 14 '17 at 20:28
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    @Helion I agree that it is a junk question. If a person known to be quite truthful but generally credulous said that he slept in this morning, that statement would be credible because his general credulity would not affect his specific knowledge related to that statement. – Jeff Morrow Sep 14 '17 at 20:54

They have related meanings. Both derive from the Latin root "cred," meaning "believe." Both words thus relate to believing. They are neither synonyms nor antonyms.

"Credible" means "worthy of belief." It implies both honesty and knowledge.

"Credulous" means "of a believing disposition" and thus "easy to fool" or "gullible." It does not imply dishonesty.

In certain contexts, the two words become quasi-antonyms because a credulous person may believe a great deal that is incorrect and so not be credible.

"A, who is credible, said X" implies that X is probably true.

"B, who is credulous", said Y" implies that Y may be incorrect.

But they are not true antonyms because "credible" implies honesty whereas "credulous" does not imply dishonesty.

EDIT: I forgot another difference. "Credulous" refers to people. "Credible" may refer to people, but may also refer to statements.

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