Which Is Correct: “Stupider” Or “Stupidest”?

Is stupider a word?

It turns out stupider is an actual word. The word stupid is an adjective that refers to someone or something that’s foolish or senseless.

This adjective, however, only gets you so far. When you want to compare two nouns, you’ll need what’s called a comparative adjective. For example, in the sentence “Sam is bigger than Selena,” the adjective bigger is comparative. It tells you that Sam is larger in size than Selena.

If you want to compare two things that are stupid, you would use the comparative form of the adjective stupid to describe which has a greater level of stupidity. In most cases, comparative and superlative adjectives follow a simple pattern. You add the suffix –er to the original adjective when you want to form the comparative. Stupider is one acceptable form of the comparative form.

But there is another.

Stupider or more stupid

More stupid is also accepted as a comparative form of the adjective stupid. Stupider and more stupid are used interchangeably. In the English language, stupid is one of just a few adjectives that have two grammatically correct options for their comparative form.

Why is that? Well, some two-syllable adjectives (in particular, adjectives ending with –y, –er, –le, and –ow) follow the –er rule above. This includes dirty (which becomes dirtier and dirtiest), little (littler and littlest), and narrow (narrower and narrowest).

In most other cases, adjectives with two syllables use the words more and most to create their comparative and superlative forms. For example, important and public are both adjectives with multiple syllables. Their comparative forms are more important and more public. Their superlative forms are most important and most public.

Stupid is a two-syllable adjective. Based on the rule above, it should use the words more and most to form its comparative and superlative forms, and it does. However, it also breaks this rule by using –er and –est as alternative forms.

A few other adjectives use –er and –est as well as more and most, such as clever, likely, and pleasant. This means both of these sentences are grammatically correct: “Betty is more likely to win the election than Bobby” and “Betty is likelier to win than Bobby.”

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Is stupidest a word?

As you may have guessed, the adjective stupid also has a superlative form. If you’re comparing more than two things, you can use a superlative adjective. Consider this sentence: “Sam is bigger than Selena, but Sean is the biggest.” In this case, Sean is larger in size than both Selena and Sam. This shows a progression in size among the three people, with Selena as the smallest, Sam in the middle, and Sean as the largest.

Stupidest or most stupid

Just like the comparative form, the superlative form of stupid can be formed in two different ways. In most cases, superlative adjectives also follow a simple pattern. To make one-syllable adjectives superlative, just add -est (e.g. tallest, bravest, and hottest). A two-syllable word ending in -y becomes superlative when you change the Y to an I and add -est (e.g. funniest, healthiest, and spiciest). For all other words, just add most or least in front of them. You add the suffix –est to form the superlative. Once again, stupid is an example of an adjective that takes both stupidest and most stupid as acceptable superlatives.

When do you use stupider vs. stupidest?

For example, you could say “Thing A is stupid, but thing B is stupider.” This would express that you find thing B to have a greater level of stupidness than thing A. If you said “Thing B is more stupid than thing A,” it would mean the same thing as the first sentence. Both sentences show the comparative relationship between things A and B. If you’re comparing more than two things, you’ll need to use stupidest or most stupid.

Examples of stupider in a sentence

  • The movie was even stupider than I expected.
  • My sister thought she was stupider than I am because I got better grades.
  • The idea is worth considering, even if it sounds stupider than all the others.

Examples of stupidest in a sentence

  • That is just the stupidest explanation I’ve ever heard!
  • Some people unkindly described the man as the stupidest alive.
  • They ruined my favorite show with the stupidest ending possible.

Armed with this knowledge, you’re certainly taking a step toward being a smarter grammar student—and maybe even the smartest.

There's no such thing as a stupid question. Such as, which should you use: "pled" and "pleaded"?

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