I believe that 'intelligente' is a good translation for the English word 'intelligent'. Is there a suitable one-word translation for the English 'unintelligent'? My dictionary suggests 'poco intelligente' but it offers no single word translation.

2 Answers 2


As reported in this dictionary, you can use the term ottuso.

unintelligent agg. non intelligente, ottuso, stupido.

Looking at Treccani’s dictionary you can read the definition of ottuso, used figuratively:

  1. In senso fig., sempre in contrapp. con acuto: a. Con riferimento alla capacità intellettiva, che manca di penetrazione, tardo a capire, di scarsa sensibilità: mente o., cervello o.; ma sei proprio o.!; per estens., sguardo o., espressione o., che rivelano lentezza mentale.

In theory, there is the Italian word inintelligente, which is exactly corresponding to “unintelligent” (the word intelligente preceded by the negative prefix in-), but it is really uncommon.

As an alternative – but losing the litotes of “unintelligent” – there is a wide range of negative terms for a person or action lacking intelligence: stupido, ottuso, scemo and so on, some of which correspond to similar-sounding English words (stupid, obtuse...).

Personally, to express the nuance of “unintelligent”, I'd tend to use some phrase negating intelligente or another positive term: un ragazzo non molto sveglio for “a quite unintelligent boy”, say.

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