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English Doofus and German Doof

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A native German speaker is curious about the English word doofus, which sounds a lot like  German doof, meaning “stupid” or “daft.” English doofus first appeared in the 1960s, apparently modeled after goofus, another term for a “dolt” or “stupid person.” In the Scots language, dowf or douf means “listless” or “dull.” German doof apparently derives from taub, or “deaf,” which can also describe something lacking some essential quality, such as “deaf” seeds that don’t germinate. This is part of a complete episode.

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