As I understand the word 'stupid' is used as a noun, an adjective and as an adverb. However there is also the word 'stupidly' of which I think that's the proper adverb, but it is hardly used. Common is 'he is driving 'stupid' and not 'he is driving 'stupidly'. Which is correct ?

My second question is about the nouns stupid, stupidity and stupidness. I understand that one can call someone 'a stupid'. Please explain the difference between stupidity and stupidness, if any.

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    I would say "driving stupidly", not "driving stupid", and the brief web search I did turned up more results for the former than for the latter.
    – nnnnnn
    Commented Aug 16, 2019 at 3:26
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    I would say that "He's driving stupid" is much less common than "He's driving, stupid" with the comma indicating that 'stupid' is an derogatory form of address directed at a third person rather than a description of the driving style. It could be used, for example in the conversation "Why isn't he answering his phone?" "He's driving, stupid!" The word 'stupid' is only used as an adjective informally and, I would argue, incorrectly.
    – BoldBen
    Commented Aug 16, 2019 at 4:25
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    Driving stupid is similar to driving drunk.
    – Jim
    Commented Aug 16, 2019 at 6:14
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    @Jim Getting to this comment after all the others made me immediately think of driving drunkly. I paused for a couple of seconds, and then corrected it to driving drunkenly. Commented Aug 16, 2019 at 6:20
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    Noun=stupidity. Adjective=stupid. Adverb=stupidly. I would dispute the assertion that stupidly is 'hardly used'. Stupidness is not a conventional word. Commented Aug 16, 2019 at 7:38

1 Answer 1


So we see a total of four uses of the word stupid (adjective, adverb, and two nouns). Other words in question are stupidly (adverb), stupidity (noun), and stupidness (noun).

The Proper English uses are stupid (adj.), stupidly (adv.), and stupidity (n.):

adj. ... 1 unintelligent; foolish (a stupid fellow). 2 typical of stupid persons (put in a stupid place). 3 uninteresting or boring. 4 in a state of stupor or lethargy. 5 obtuse; lacking in sensibility. [Derivations:] stu·pid·i·ty /-íditee/ n. (pl. -ies). stu·pid·ly adv.

——The Illustrated Oxford Dictionary, DK Publishing (1998)

Colloquial and slang uses are stupid (adv.) and stupid (n. 1 & 2):


stupid (comparative more stupid, superlative most stupid)

  1. (slang) Extremely.

    My gear is stupid fly.



stupid (countable and uncountable, plural stupids)

  1. A stupid person; a fool.

  2. (colloquial, uncountable) The state or condition of being stupid.

    His stupid knows no bounds.


While I can't find it in many online dictionaries, Wiktionary hits the nail on the head here: The slang adverb stupid means "extremely." The sentence sounds off when applied to verbs, like in "He's driving stupid" (the better phrasing being "He's driving stupidly"). Stupid works better as an adverb for adjectives: "That's stupid cool," "He's stupid bad at driving," or even "He's a stupid good driver."

As for our colloquial nouns, one might call someone a stupid just like you say. It can also sometimes be like a synonym for stupidity. "You can't fix stupid," "The air of stupid in this room is so thick it's almost tangible." (In my town, this one might take a second thought to understand what you're saying.)

As for stupidness vs. stupidity, this was answered here. Being constructed with similarly defined suffices, the two words are synonymous. Stupidity has long-standing acceptance. Stupidness is rarely and endemically preferred. I have no evidence for it being used outside the West Indies.

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