1(The name of) a mock epic poem by Alexander Pope, satirizing literary dunces; a work resembling this in satirizing contemporary literary culture or exposing to ridicule the stupidity or idiocy of a particular group of people.
The poem was originally published in 1728 and was expanded several times up to 1743. In the following century the word was used in the titles of a number of other works influenced by or intended to extend Pope's own, and by the second half of the 19th century had passed into more generic use.
2A world governed or populated by idiots or dunces; a group of dunces, typically one wielding a degree of power or authority.
Early 18th century; earliest use found in Alexander Pope (1688–1744), poet. From dunce + -iad.