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It, i.e., ‘dotard’, was a word I was familiar with (given my very British heritage) — though, of course, living in the U.S. I had not heard it in a long time. I am sure I first encountered it at the Public (i.e., private) School I attended, in North London, “Mill Hill School” — the read birthplace of the ‘Oxford English Dictionary‘ and the alma mater of Denis Thatcher (Margaret’s husband). It was a school rich in vocabulary and idioms, my two favorites, that I still treasure and use being: “Play the White Man” (i.e., do the right thing) and “Munda Logic” (African/black logic). Both are very profound and have many applications.
- An old person in their dotage.
That is where the word comes from ‘dote’ + ‘-ard‘.
‘-ard‘ denotes someone with a specific condition — as in drunkard.
‘Dote‘ refers to an imbecile!
- An old person with impaired intellect.
1st known usage was by the inimitable Geoffrey Chaucer in his beyond ionic ‘The Canterbury Tales‘ — in “The Wife of Bath’s Prologue“. It went: “Til they be wedded; olde dotard shrewe!”
Then it was Edmund Spenser (above) in 1590 & then Shakespeare (above) ~1598.
- old man, elder, senior citizen, old codger, geezer, old duffer, pantaloon, graybeard.
- senile, fogy, fuddy-duddy
So what do YOU think? You think ‘they’ got it right?
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