I’m with stupid

flickr  dumbbells

flickr o0bsesed's photostream

Tom Hanks as Forest Gump probably said it best.  “Stupid is as stupid does.”

Gump was not very politically correct it seems.  He should have used a euphemism to describe stupid or dumb. 

I may do multiple posts on various aspects of euphemisms but today let’s look at ones relating to how to describe someone who is not very smart. 

Most people know some of the common ones like “a few bricks short of a load”, “not the sharpest knife in the drawer” and not the brightest light bulb.  Closely tied to that is “The lights are on but no one is home.” 

There are many more creative euphemisms that relate to the subject. 

Beer seems to be popular with “a beer short of a six-pack” and “all foam, no beer.” 

In the food category, we have the favorite, “a few fries short of a Happy Meal.”  One that was new to me is “a few peas short of a casserole.”
Then there is a grouping around media.  You could say someone “thinks multimedia means having more than one TV.”  Try “his antenna doesn’t pick up all the channels.”  I like “At least one Brady short of a Bunch” and “One Gilligan short of an island.”  (If you are younger, ask your parents about these two.) 

A few more”  “A few clowns short of a circus”, Twelve shy of a dozen”, “As sharp as two pounds of wet leather”, “Takes him 1 ½ hours to watch 60 Minutes” and “The wheel is spinning but the hamster is dead.”

What are some others?


13 responses to “I’m with stupid

  1. I hadn’t heard “his antennea doesn’t get all the channels”. That made me laugh!
    “not the sharpest crayon in the box”
    “a few cards short of a deck”
    “his elevator doesn’t go clear to the top”
    “a few clowns short of a circus”

  2. Sheila Thanks for reading and responding. I am glad I made you laugh.
    I should meet the crew at your business some time when I am downtown.


  3. Woody Woodward

    You just about covered my favorites, so I had to really think. How about “he’s home but the lights are all out.” Or, “He’s gone fishen, but forgot the bait.” I don’t think you mentioned, “He’s not playing with a full deck.” “When God said, ‘Who wants brains, he thought He had ask for planes, so he’s trying to wing it.” Or “He’s out to lunch.”

  4. I can’t let Sheila have all the fun:
    “Not the brightest bulb on the tree”
    “Not the sharpest knife in the drawer”
    “A few shades beyond blonde”

    And one for all you knitters out there…
    “Knitting with only one needle”

  5. wordsbybob

    HA I really like knitting with one needle. How fitting for you. And–readers of the blog please not that I did not bring up BLONDES.

  6. wordsbybob

    Good ones Woody.

  7. Diana McKinney

    Reminds me of a T-shirt I have. Picture a shirt with a duck with no head. Underneath it says, “not playing with a full duck”.

    In this age of technology we could start some new ones too. How about: The computer’s turned on but it’s missing some RAM.

    I have also heard the phrase: He has an ID ten T error. Which if you print it looks like this: IDlOT.

  8. Hi Diana
    Good one! I know several people who could use a “duck” shirt like that.

  9. Ok, my coworkers got on this before me. Here’s a few that I grew up with in Southern California.

    One taco short of a combination plate
    The porch light’s on, but nobody’s home
    The elevator doesn’t go all the way to the top floor
    He has bats in the belfry
    Sharp as a butter knife

  10. wordsbybob

    Good ones! Thanks for contributing and spreading the word.

  11. David Stevens

    In Kansas, even in Kansas City, we hear terms influenced by rural life:
    “dumb as a fencepost”.

    Then, there is:
    “Not too whippy”.
    “doesn’t have sense enough to come in out of the rain”
    and one notorious one with an interesting back-story,: “Doesn’t know s**t from [s/S]hinola”

    I have some Russian ones for you, but you know, one has to check the semantic intent of “dumb” in other cultures. Some cultures are more precise in using “stupid” for not very intelligent, and “dumb” would tend to connote, “cannot speak”, as in “deaf and dumb”.
    In most dictionaries that serve as translations,
    “dumb” is listed as “U.S. colloquial: stupid”.

    So I have to say, it is unclear whether their metaphors translating to “dumb” mean stupid or silent.

    For example, there is a Russian phrase that translates to:
    “Dumb as a carp”
    (lots of marine expressions from Russia)
    but I have to check out the intent of that message. Coming from the U.S., I would think it means “stupid”, but it could easily mean “mute”.

    Hmmmm, once again, I can see a translation of “play dumb”. My first reaction is that it means “feign ignorance”, but in that culture it may mean “feign the inability to speak”.

    Others from Russia translate to:

    “mind like a sieve” (translation is literally ” ‘holely’ head, meaning “head full of holes” , not holy.

    “can lose one’s way in broad daylight” (literal phrase translates to “wander in the dark” in the same context)


    In situations where we might say “doesn’t have enough sense to come in out of the rain”, Russians would tend to say a phrase that translates to “his/her head is filled with straw”.

    In situations where we might say , “…could lose one’s way in broad daylight”, Russians tend to say a phrase that literally translates to “could lose one’s way in/among three pine trees”.

    “not know beans about something” , which really tends to be a statement about ignorance rather than stupidity, is rendered literally from Russian as
    “not in tooth with leg”, which I suppose, when the phrase was first created, I guess “you just had to be there”. (shrug)

  12. Funny. Translating between languages can always be tricky.

  13. “Not the tallest tree in the forest, but definitely the thickest” and
    “I don’t know what keeps his ears apart”