[[quoteright:350:[[Webcomic/{{Freefall}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Freefall_stupidity_9257.JPG]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:Edge enjoys living on the edge.]]

Sometimes characters are just not that bright. This is an index of tropes related to stupidity, absentmindedness, and forgetfulness.

See ContrivedStupidityTropes for a specific set of these tropes dealing with unrealistic stupidity [[IdiotPlot driving the plot]]. Compare AntiIntellectualism and contrast IntelligenceTropes.

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!!Tropes:
[[index]]
* AchievementsInIgnorance: When being too stupid to understand things lets one do the impossible.
* AdultsAreUseless: Adult figures who are too stupid to be helpful to the children.
* AlcoholInducedIdiocy: Getting really drunk makes one do really stupid things.
* AlmightyIdiot: Godlike powers zaps one of their intelligence and sanity. (Alternatively -- a character who happens to have godlike power and rocks for brains.)
* ApatheticCitizens: The townspeople must be real idiots if they don't care about the danger right in front of them.
* ArtificialStupidity: The computer AI for a video game does amazingly stupid things like get stuck in a door.
* ArtisticLicenseGunSafety: Stupidly handling guns in ways that would seriously hurt or kill someone.
* AntiAdvice: Can be a sign of stupidity if doing what one was originally told was actually the correct way.
* AsianAirhead: Asian character who averts AsianAndNerdy and instead is not smart enough to tie their own shoes.
* BeliefMakesYouStupid: Radical religious belief impairs one's intelligence.
* BewareTheSillyOnes: Sometimes even characters who aren't that smart can be dangerous when provoked.
* BlatantLies: Lies so obvious only an idiot would fall for them.
** WildCardExcuse: A stupid person uses the same excuse over and over no matter what situation they're in.
* BlindShoulderToss: It's stupid to throw something over your shoulder without second thought if the thing has value or it ends up hurting somebody.
* BookDumb: Stupid when it comes to academics but brilliant when it comes to "street smarts".
* BrainlessBeauty: They have a pretty face and a gorgeous body, but they have nothing going on in their head.
* BullyingADragon: Yes, let's antagonize the guy who we just saw beat the crap out of another guy; it's not like he'll beat us up too, ya'know.
* BumblingDad: A clueless idiot who happens to be a father.
* BumblingSidekick: This person is way too stupid to be a competent sidekick.
* ButThouMust: An idiot tries passing off the same answer to a question as different answers.
** StupidityIsTheOnlyOption: The only way the plot can advance is through a character making a boneheaded mistake.
* CallousnessTowardsEmergency: Someone is clearly in danger, but the one who could help them is too stupid to be helpful in addition to being a {{Jerkass}}.
* CannotSpitItOut: A stupid person can't say something important when it matters.
* CannotTalkToWomen: If a female is present, this person turns into a babbling idiot.
* ChildhoodBrainDamage: A character's stupidity was likely caused by them getting hit on the head as a baby.
* ClosedCircle: Not always due to stupidity, but often this happens when the characters only stay in a dangerous situation because the plot demands it.
* {{Cloudcuckoolander}}: They're not always stupid, but often this kind of person has a rather... bizarre and sometimes nonsensical outlook on life.
* CluelessDeputy: This guy isn't really much of a threat to criminals...
* CluelessDetective: Don't count on this idiot to solve the crime for you.
* ComicallyCrossEyed: Cross-eyed appearance marks a sign of a dimwit.
* ComicallyMissingThePoint: They're not smart enough to see the actual point of what is happening or what was said.
* ContrivedStupidityTropes: When characters do unrealistically stupid things for the sake of the plot.
* CorneredRattlesnake: It's a sign of stupidity if one thinks that person they've got cornered wouldn't actually fight back in self-defense.
* CountingToPotato: Stupid people don't know beans about counting numbers.
* CreditCardPlot: What happens when an idiot is given a credit card? They max it all out on junk of course.
* CrouchingMoronHiddenBadass: They may not be very bright, but they are very competent at fighting.
* CultureBlind: How does this dumbass not know the basics of culture norms?
* CuriosityKilledTheCast: The plot kicks off because some idiot thought it would be a good idea to explore something suspicious-looking.
* DamselFightAndFlightResponse: She had the upper hand on the villain and could've killed him right then, but she ran away like a moron instead.
* DamselScrappy: They constantly get themselves in danger because they're too dumb to take care of themself thus nobody likes them because of this.
* DeusExitMachina: The most powerful characters never seem to be there when it really matters.
* DidntThinkThisThrough: Stupid people aren't good at coming up with well thought out plans.
* DitchTheBodyguards: Bodyguards that can't keep track of their clients have to be real idiots.
* TheDitz: They're so stupid, you wonder how they're able to care for themself.
* DitzySecretary: How can someone as stupid as her have the job of secretary?
* DogsAreDumb: Dogs, stereotypically, are very simple minded creatures.
* DontTouchItYouIdiot: An idiot touches the world-destroying device.
* DramaticSlip: In chase scenes, the really stupid characters always fall down and can't get back up for some reason.
* DugInDeeper: When one is too stupid to tell the truth about their friend's talentlessness and a whole disaster ensues.
* DumbAndDrummer: The drummers for musical groups are stereotyped as brainless.
* DumbassHasAPoint: A stupid character manages to make an excellent point.
* DumbassTeenageSon: Teenage boys in fiction are rarely, if ever, portrayed as being intelligent.
* DumbBlonde: Blonde hair is a sign of stupidity.
* DumbDinos: If you wanna know how dinosaurs went extinct, it's cuz they were TooDumbToLive.
* DumbDodoBird: Dodo birds get portrayed as stupid almost as much as dinosaurs.
* DumbIsGood: Stupid people are nice while smart people are [[{{Jerkass}} Jerkasses]].
* DumbJock: He's a great athlete, but pathetic in anything intellectual.
* DumbMuscle: TheBigGuy tends to be the least intelligent of the FiveManBand.
* EasilyImpressed: Stupid characters are impressed by anything, no matter how unimpressive it really is.
* EatingPetFood: Stupid characters get pet food confused for people food.
* EitherWorldDominationOrSomethingAboutBananas: When an idiot translates another language, they'll come up with an absurd translation of it.
* EnragedByIdiocy: A character who has no patience for stupid people.
* EskimosArentReal: An idiot that actually believes that real things such as ponies or Hawaii don't exist.
* ExplainingYourPowerToTheEnemy: One way stupidity screws you over is by telling your enemy how your abilities work and what weakens them.
* ExplosiveStupidity: When you leave explosives in the hands of idiots, they'll get themselves killed in the process.
* FeigningIntelligence: A stupid person pretends to be smart to impress people.
** IveHeardOfThatWhatIsIt: A stupid person who asks what something is after acting like they knew already.
* FatIdiot: Fat people are rarely intelligent in fiction.
* FishEyes: One way to spot an idiot is if their eyes are never focused.
* TheFool: A stupid person who survives danger through dumb luck.
** FearlessFool: Plus they're too dumb to realize the danger they're in when charging into a fight.
* ForgotAboutHisPowers: When a character is suddenly too stupid to realize they could use their powers to help themselves.
* ForgotICouldntSwim: Stupidly throwing oneself into a situation while forgetting that you can't actually handle it.
* ForgottenPhlebotinum: Useful techniques that never get used again because the cast is either too dumb or forgetful to remember them.
* ForgotToFeedTheMonster: Moronic villains or [[{{Jerkass}} Jerkasses]] starve their pets/minions to death by forgetting to feed them.
* GeniusDitz: Stupid character who is actually quite knowledgeable in a certain field.
* GenreBlindness: Too stupid to realize how their genre of fiction really works out.
** ContractualGenreBlindness: Characters make stupid mistakes on purpose because that's just the role that they're given.
** RealityShowGenreBlindness: How in blazes do these morons auditioning for this well-known reality show not know how this show works?
* GlobalIgnorance: Not knowing about other countries marks a sign of stupidity.
* GoodIsDumb: Heroic characters are prone to boneheaded mistakes.
* GullibleLemmings: Moronic citizens support the ObviouslyEvil villain.
* GunsInChurch: A moron brings a weapon to a place where they'd get in serious trouble for doing so.
* HistoricalCharacterConfusion: When used to show the character doing it is an idiot.
* HoldingBackThePhlebotinum: Unless there's a good reason for it, withholding a powerful weapon or ability when it could help you is just a plain boneheaded move.
* HoldingBothSidesOfTheConversation: Character pretends to be talking to someone who is not there, poorly done attempts at this fool only the really dense characters.
* HonorBeforeReason: Sticking to your moral code is noble and all, but doing so in a way that screws you and other people over shows lack of intelligence and/or good judgment.
* HorribleJudgeOfCharacter: Too stupid to realize that someone is obviously not a good person.
* HotOnHisOwnTrail: A stupid character follows his own footprints/trail thinking it's someone else's.
* HumansAreMorons: Humanity is the stupidest of all species.
* IdiotBall: Temporarily [[TookALevelInDumbass taking a level in dumbass]] because the plot needs it.
** ConflictBall: Characters go at each other's throats for face-palmingly dumb reasons or no reason at all.
** DistressBall: Character endangers themself by being uncharacteristically stupid.
** HeroBall: TheHero screws himself over through sudden stupidity.
*** OutOfSightOutOfMind: The clueless heroes think throwing out the ArtifactOfDoom and/or the villain will instantly save the day.
*** VillainExitStageLeft: The villain escapes after being defeated because the heroes just stand there like idiots and let him.
** ThirdActStupidity: Character suddenly loses their intelligence at the end of the story in order to drag out the ending.
** VillainBall: Villains always lose because they can't be evil in a smart and competent way.
*** BondVillainStupidity: He could've killed the hero right then but instead, like idiot, decides to either stick him in an easily escapable trap or doesn't make sure he's dead.
*** CutLexLuthorACheck: The villain doesn't seem to be smart enough to realize that he could make money off his evil inventions, instead he wastes them on petty crime.
*** GeneralFailure: Militaries shouldn't have such an utter moron as their commanding officer.
*** JustBetweenYouAndMe: The villain thinks it's a smart idea to reveal his whole plan to the hero since it may look like the hero is about to die; boy was he wrong.
*** RevealingCoverup: You can tell how stupid a villain is by how bad they are at hiding confidential information.
* IdiotHero: TheHero is a complete moron.
* IdiotHoudini: Stupid people can get away with things on the basis that [[HanlonsRazor they didn't know any better]].
* IdioticPartnerConfession: When you tell a stupid person something another character isn't supposed to know, of course they're gonna blurt it out to everyone.
* IdiotPlot: This plot can't go anywhere without the characters sacrificing their intelligence.
* IgnorantOfTheirOwnIgnorance: This character is too stupid to realize that they're stupid.
* IJustShotMarvinInTheFace: Don't ever let a stupid person handle guns; they don't know anything about or don't care about gun safety.
* IllNeverTellYouWhatImTellingYou: The idiotic villain tells you what you want to know despite claiming that he's not telling you anything.
* ImprobablyLowIQ: An IQ level that is so low that it's not possible for this person to actually function properly in real life.
* ImThinkingItOver: Having to think over a situation that could ''save your freakin' life'' shows tremendous density.
* InsaneTrollLogic: An incredibly idiotic and nonsensical logical fallacy.
* ItSeemedLikeAGoodIdeaAtTheTime: That so-called "good idea" you had turned out to be a really stupid mistake.
* JugglingLoadedGuns: Idiots using guns incorrectly because it's funny.
* JustEatGilligan: The solution to a problem is plain obvious, but nobody appears to be smart enough to realize this.
* KindheartedSimpleton: Not very bright, but they're so sweet.
* KnowNothingKnowItAll: A character who constantly brags about knowledge that they obviously don't have.
* LawfulStupidChaoticStupid
** ChaoticStupid: Being so devoted to anarchy kills common sense.
** LawfulStupid: Being devoted to following the rules without really stopping to really think about it.
** StupidEvil: Doing evil things without rhyme, reason, or any sense of self-preservation.
** StupidGood: A character who's so pure-hearted and idealistic that they are hilariously easy to take advantage of.
** StupidNeutral
* LeeroyJenkins: He doesn't know the meaning of the words "planning", "caution", "restraint", "stealth", or "subtlety". Actually, all he ''does'' know is "charge in and whack things".
* LeftYourLifesaverBehind
* LethallyStupid: So stupid they could get themself or other people killed.
* LikeIsLikeAComma: A true sign of stupidity is using 'like' every other word.
* LoveMakesYouDumb: Falling in love makes one do irrational and boneheaded things.
* MadeOutToBeAJerkass
* ManChild
* ManiacTongue
* MercyLead
* TheMillstone: A character whose sheer stupidity is detrimental to everyone around them.
* MissConception: Someone is too stupid to understand how people get pregnant
* MisspellingOutLoud
* MookDepletion: A side effect of a villain killing off his minions.
* MooseAreIdiots
* MoralPragmatist: Someone is doing evil, but don't realize that they're hurting their own goal.
* MsRedInk
* MuggingTheMonster: A character picks a fight with someone who turns out to be ''way'' more powerful than them.
* NaiveAnimalLover
* NeverRecycleYourSchemes: A "mastermind" never bothers to reuse or even revise their failed plans, regardless of the circumstances behind the failure -- instead, they start from scratch ''every single time''.
* NoMeansYes
* NoPeripheralVision: A character fails to notice anything that isn't '''directly''' in front of them, as if they're wearing blinders.
* NobodyEverComplainedBefore
* NobodysThatDumb: [[TemptingFate Don't express disbelief that anybody could be stupid enough to perform an incredibly ill-advised action.]] You will inevitably be proven wrong.
* NotAZombie
* NumberTwoForBrains: TheLancer (or TheDragon) is an imbecile.
* ObfuscatingStupidity: Pretending to be stupid.
* ObliviousToHints: Subtlety is completely lost on this guy -- if you want him to understand something, you have to tell him ''exactly'' what point you're trying to get across.
* ObliviousToHisOwnDescription
* PaperThinDisguise: Only an idiot would fall for this disguise or actually think it would work.
* PhlebotinumInducedStupidity: The substance that drives the plot has a side-effect of impairing higher cognitive functions.
* PingPongNaivete: A character oscillates between trusting and not trusting someone who shouldn't be trusted.
* PlayerExclusiveMechanic: A mechanic in a video game that only humans can use, because programming the AI to be capable of it would be too damn hard (or make the game too damn hard).
* PlotSensitiveSnoopingSkills: A character who tries to secretly gather information will be exactly as successful at it as the plot needs them to be.
* PoorCommunicationKills: Failure to communicate important information with your friends and family is a boneheaded move to make.
* PopularIsDumb: The popular kids in school are dumb as grass.
* RecognitionFailure
* ReedRichardsIsUseless: Not smart enough to realize that they could use their awesome powers or gifts to help people.
* RememberedICouldFly
* RevengeBeforeReason: A character pursues a grudge at the expense of all notions of sanity or self-interest.
* ReverseTelescopicVision
* RichInDollarsPoorInSense: A character who's extremely wealthy and extremely dumb.
* RunsOnIgnorance: This thing literally can't function except around stupid people.
* SanityHasAdvantages: Those who are intelligent and reasonable fare better than those who are not.
* SeeminglyProfoundFool
* SelectiveObliviousness: A character intentionally ignores anything they wish to remain unaware of...
** IRejectYourReality: ...even at the expense of all notions of logic and objective truth.
* SelectiveStupidity
* SidetrackedByTheAnalogy
* StatingTheSimpleSolution: The characters are faced with a problem with a blindingly obvious solution... apparentky the "blinding" part was literal, because only one guy can see the solution, and has to go out of their way to tell everyone else what it is.
* StopDrowningAndStandUp: A character ends up in water and blindly panics until they're informed that the water is ''far'' too shallow for them to actually drown in.
* StrangerSafety
* StupidCrooks: Criminals who have no idea what they're doing.
* StupidFuturePeople: In the future, everyone will be '''dumb!'''
* StupidSacrifice: A character performs a HeroicSacrifice that was completely unnecessary and/or accomplished nothing.
* StupidScientist: A scientist whose pursuit of knowledge serves as a demonstration of their lack of it.
* StupidSurrender: A character throws in the towel while they're not even losing.
* StupidityInducingAttack: A combat technique that actively reduces the victim's intelligence.
* SuicidalOverconfidence: These guys make a habit out of MuggingTheMonster.
* StrategySchmategy: "Tactics are for the weak!"
* SwallowTheKey: It's very stupid to swallow the key to a door you just locked because you would not be able to use the key again to unlock it later.
* SuperGullible: They're so stupid they'll believe anything they're told no matter how many times they get tricked.
* SurroundedByIdiots: The sentiment of a smart guy frustrated by his colleagues' relative lack of intelligence.
* TheyJustDontGetIt
* TooDumbToFool: A character who proves immune to deception by virtue of not even getting the point the liar's trying to make.
* TooDumbToLive: So stupid it's amazing they haven't got themself killed yet.
* TookALevelInDumbass: They weren't always this stupid in the past.
* TreacherousSpiritChase
* UpperClassTwit: A character who's high on the social ladder... and not so high in common sense.
* UselessWithoutCellPhones
* ValleyGirl
* ViewersAreMorons: TV executives seem to think their viewers are complete morons.
* VirginityMakesYouStupid: Lacking sexual experience impairs one's intelligence.
* ViolationOfCommonSense: A situation where the proper course of action involves doing something a sane person would most likely be unwilling to do.
* WhatAnIdiot: Doing incredibly stupid things that no sane person would actually do.
** ChainedToABed
** HaveYouToldAnyoneElse: [[HeKnowsTooMuch Someone has just acquired some information that, if spread, could be very dangerous to a morally bankrupt individual or group...]] So naturally, the threatened individual or group is ''the first one'' they share the information with. No points for guessing what happens next.
** MistakenForIndex
** OnceIsNotEnough: No, you can't just whack the monster once and be done with it.
** WhatWereYouThinking: The StockPhrase used to call an idiot out on their idiocy.
* WorkingClassPeopleAreMorons
* YourBrainWontBeMuchOfAMeal: A brain-eater finds stupid people repulsive.
[[/index]]
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