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Word Meaning - which is right?

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my dictionary says tonto means silly but my teacher insists it means stupid. To a native spanish speaker what does tanto translate to in english'

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updated DIC 10, 2008
posted by Fo-Sho

6 Answers

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haha being ignorant of being ignorant... ok thanks i think i got it!

updated DIC 10, 2008
posted by Fo-Sho
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Careful. Estúpido and stupid both come from stupor, meaning that someone is so lacking in mental faculty that they appear to be in a stupor (mouth agape, drooling, etc.). Ignorant, on the other hand, only means lacking in knowledge of something. For example, as far as I know, Einstein was completely ignorant of Japanese calligraphy, but he was not stupid. Ignorant is just a state, while stupid is a characteristic. Sort of like estar and ser!

Of course, many people use the word ignorant as a synonym of stupid (being ignorant of the difference), but someone like you will want to know the difference.

updated DIC 10, 2008
posted by 00bacfba
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thanks lazarus1907 sounds like it is just in context.

updated DIC 10, 2008
posted by Fo-Sho
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All these words can be used in many ways in both languages. Silly means that someone doesn't have much judgement, or acts without thinking, and "stupid" means silly, lacking intelligence, or annoying. "Tonto" means "having little reason", and "estúpido" means "lacking intelligence or completely ignorant". You judge.

updated DIC 10, 2008
posted by lazarus1907
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Thanks James!

updated DIC 10, 2008
posted by Fo-Sho
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You mean tonto, not tanto. It has a range of meaning that might encompass both silly and stupid, depending on the context, but it is pretty strong, so it is usually closer to stupid than silly.

updated DIC 10, 2008
posted by 00bacfba
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