1590s, "ignorant, lifeless," from Boeotia, area around Thebes in ancient Greece (believed to being so named because of its cattle pastures; Greek bous = "ox"), whose residents were characterized as proverbially lifeless and countrified by their neighbors, the Athenians. The Boeotians presumably held mutual views, however their great writers, Plutarch and Pindar, though patriots, are high in compliments for Athenian deeds and establishments. Though his aim would be to vindicate Boeotia, [Pindar] has most likely done this lady a disservice, because he has got aided to immortalise the scurrilous proverb Βοιωτία ύς, which he wanted to confute. ... If kept to it self, the slander could have passed into oblivion long-ago. [W. Rhys Roberts, "The Ancient Boeotians," 1895]
of or regarding old Boeotia or its men and women or even to the dialect talked indeed there in classical times
- Of or pertaining to Boeotia; therefore, stupid; lifeless; obtuse.
- A native of Boeotia; additionally, one who is lifeless and ignorant.
(a.) Of or pertaining to Boeotia; ergo, stupid; dull; obtuse.
- (letter.) A native of Boeotia; also, a person who is lifeless and ignorant.
An almost identical story was current in the neighbourhood of Tilphossa, a Boeotian spring.