descriptors / humor

How to Say “As dumb as…” Without Being Boring

A while ago, I published an article with 51 similes to spark the imagination as part of my collection of posts on how to describe in writing. That not only was one of my most-visited collections but readers also contributed their lists of similes that are far richer than anything I’ve come up with.

Here’s one I just have to share–from Andy Oldham, over at Christian Grandfather. I’m going to post it exactly as his email shared them (I hope I’ve included all the important credits!). He has 133 ways to say ‘as dumb as’ that include not only similes and metaphors but creative ways to ‘show not tell’ that attribute:

Metaphors for “He is as dumb as…”

Recently [well, that’s now over a decade ago], a Chicago lawyer told a judge he was “a few french fries short of a happy meal.”  This launched a discussion on the LawMarketing Listerv of ways to say that someone was “dumb as a box of rocks” without being boring (you never want to bore a jury).

Trial lawyer Stephen Babcock of the Babcock Law Firm, LLC, in Baton Rouge, LA, contributed this awesome list of 133 metaphors:

  1. 12 shy of a dozen
  2. A bad spot on the disk.
  3. A couple of open splices.
  4. A few beers short of a six-pack.
  5. A few bricks shy of a load.
  6. A few cans short of a six pack.
  7. A loose chip on the micro processor.
  8. A quart low.
  9. About as sharp as a bowl of jello.
  10. About as sharp as a bowling ball.
  11. About as sharp as a sack of wet leather.
  12. About fifteen cents short.
  13. About three cents short of a dollar.
  14. All booster – no payload.
  15. All crown – no filling.
  16. All the lights don’t shine in his marquis
  17. As thick as two short planks.
  18. Attic’s a little dusty.
  19. Back burners not fully operating.

For the entire list, click on Larry Bodine’s Law Marketing Blog.

–published first on Today’s Author

More descriptions for writers:

  1. Body Language
  2. Dogs
  3. Neighborhood

Copyright ©2022 – All rights reserved.

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular prehistoric fiction saga, Man vs. Nature which explores seminal events in man’s evolution one trilogy at a time. She is also the author of the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers and Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. Her non-fiction includes over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, reviews as an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Savage Land, Winter 2024.


81 thoughts on “How to Say “As dumb as…” Without Being Boring

  1. Pingback: Friday Finds – Staci Troilo

  2. Hi Jacqui – great fun … and I think 133 would cover most dumb people! But it’s the repartee as one says them that makes us all laugh, or at times despair … amazing list – I’m just glad people have time to list them!! Cheers Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Once, while brainstorming a sci-fi romance novel, I got stuck in a malfunctioning time machine, and I encountered Don Quixote. Riding a camel, he threatened to play Russian Roulette with all chambers empty, and to draw straws from a dandelion in a windstorm near a windmill. I asked him where his donkey was and he said he dismounted it, sending it packing, because he got tired of riding it backwards and not knowing where he was going.

    Liked by 2 people

      •     Thanks. I’m having a problem choosing an organizing style. I’ve had several false starts already. The social protocols I’m finding a little ambiguous: “like” doesn’t seem to mean “like or love” but “I’ve seen it or I’ve read it and it’s not too horrendous or uncouth.” I don’t know if I’m going to be able to do “yup and nope” and “Have a nice day” kinds of comments. Succinct in the kitchen sink is not exactly my thing. Suppose I could do “Uh huh,” if I must.
            I’m not sure what genre our blog is going to fit into. I did tell Doug and Zawmb’yee to mingle a little in the city environment, so I suppose that puts it into an Urban category. I encouraged Doug to join the Xyiwa Poets group, and he’s gotten into it perhaps a little too much. I’m not sure about the terminology but you could say that we’re all into what used to be called “New Age” philosophies. It is within the scope of our traditions to take advantage of “psychic” abilities. But I hesitate to add “Fantasy” to the genre descriptions because our religious traditions don’t officially call such things “unreal.” Doug already attempted a blog that he memorialized in book form that he called “The Blog That Would Destroy the World.”

        Liked by 1 person

  4. There were many I didn’t know, I think its due to culture. We have a few Aussie ones: ‘Few roos loose in the top paddock’ meaning: Someone not very bright or slightly crazy; ‘Drongo’ meaning idiot; ‘Flaming galah’ meaning a fool or an idiot; ‘Goose’ – a light-hearted insult to describe a foolish person. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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