1. (orig. US) a fool, a dullard, an idiot; thus as a term of address.
|Sun (NY) 18 Oct. 11/2: Only a bonehead ought to expect a mess o’ deep sea coal heavers to play ball.|
|Valley of the Moon (1914) 154: ‘You’re a bonehead,’ Bert sneered.|
|God’s Man 28: That father of mine’s just the craziest old bonehead in the world.|
|St Louis Post-Despatch 16 Jan. 25/2: I’ve got a new monnicker for you. I’m going to call you Bonehead Sweeney.|
|Banjo 221: You big bonehead.|
|Capricornia (1939) 349: Heard you callin’ on the boneheads to rise and fight for their rights.|
|Pittsburgh Courier (PA) 11 Mar. 11/1: Please [...] don’t let the prejudiced bone-heads get away with it.|
|Capt. Bulldog Drummond 212: Surely this bonehead would understand that argument?|
|Benny Muscles In (2004) 277: You can use both of them [i.e. fingers], bonehead.|
|(con. 1940s) Wax Boom 304: I’m nobody’s bonehead.|
|Decadence and Other Plays (1985) 75: Of course I’m not ninety-six you stupid bonehead.East in|
|Fivemiletown 7: Wiser – / aye, I used to think wiser – / than us boneheads here.‘Waftage: An Irregular Ode’ in|
|Curvy Lovebox 51: Look a’ them muggy boneheads.|
|IOL News (SA) 23 July [Internet] The term ‘bonehead’ did not refer to the race of the rugby hero but to his alleged stupidity.|
|N.Y. Rev. of Books 27 Sept. 8/4: And there were the same boneheads among them.|
|Mail & Guardian (Johannesburg) 24 Feb. [Internet] Portraying [George W.] Bush as a bonehead. Piece of cake. No one is offended.|
|Guardian CiF 14 Dec. [Internet] Is a democracy sausage what comes back to FU when a majority of boneheads vote in a wingnut LNP.|
2. in attrib. use of sense 1.
|Sun (NY) 22 Sept. 7/1: All on acct.of some bonehead Frensh solders [sic] who was wandering around.|
|Mail & Guardian (Johannesburg) 2 May [Internet] Let that bonehead white supremacist display his total idiocy to the world by waving the old South African flag.|
3. a stubborn person.
|Professor How Could You! 141: Well, you old bonehead (one of strong character!).|
|AS XIV:2 89: bonehead. Stubborn or unruly.‘The Language of the Tennessee Mountain Regions’ in|
|‘Sun a-shine, rain a-fall’ in Duppy Jamboree 14: The devil call him wife bonehead, / She hiss her teeth, call him cock-eye.|
|Nature Girl 286: Don’t die on me, you big bonehead.|
4. a stupid error.
|implied in pull a boner under boner n.3|
|Swell-Looking Babe 53: That was her biggest bonehead, checking in [...] without a reservation.|
5. (S.Afr.) an Afrikaaner; also as adj.
|Acid Alex 17: The same kid taught me [...] all the words for Rockspiders – Crunchies, Hairybacks, Clutchplates, Planks, Ropes, Boneheads, Durchmen – . [Ibid.] 194: The stupid bonehead bullies have never come across a mallit who knows how to fight in handcuffs.|
(US campus) a remedial course in elementary English composition.
|AS II:6 275: bonehead English — English for insufficiently prepared freshman.‘Stanford Expressions’ in|
|Serial 31: He [...] was currently teaching night classes in bonehead English.|
(US) an elementary, obvious error or mistake; thus pull a bonehead play, to make an elementary error.
|Apaches of N.Y. 10 7: I don’t know as I’d call it a vice so much as a bonehead play.|
|Lincoln (NE) State Journal 3 June n.p.: Some famous bonehead plays have been pulled in this city, but no council ever equalled the record of the present commissioners.|
|(con. 1917–18) War Bugs 105: Shelter halves were oozing with mud, another result of the bonehead play.|
|Long Day’s Journey into Night Act I: Harke came in person to rebuke Shaughnessy. (He chuckles.) A very bonehead play!|
|Bowers Mob [film] It sounds like a bonehead play, but the badge he flashed was the McCoy [HDAS].|
|Portrait of a Young Man Drowning (1963) 121: That was a bonehead play.|
|N.Y Post 23 Mar. 89: The individual made a bonehead play, in my judgment [HDAS].|
|theSabre.com 30 Sept. [Internet] Watching the games this past Saturday, even the most casual football fan had to be scratching their heads, and other parts of their bodies, watching some of the bonehead plays coaches called which were tantamount to handing your enemy a loaded gun.|
|7 Nov. [blog] Rich and I ended up leaving first and we forgot to pay our drink tabs before we left! Aiyee. What a total bonehead play. Now Jish et al. are sending Guido to break our legs.|
see pull a boner under boner n.3