I read this on an English blog today:

This suit of clothes is invisible to those unfit for their positions, stupid, or incompetent. — the emperor’s weavers

I can guess the general meaning because I've read the story of The Emperor's New Clothes before. But what is the meaning of the word positions here?


  • 2
    This usage of position means job, particularly in a bureaucracy. – Phil Aug 14 '14 at 3:10

This use of position has meaning 6 from dictionary.reference.com:

high standing, as in society; important status: "a person of wealth and position."

An emperor was normally surrounded by noblemen (earls, dukes, counts, etc.) and other courtiers, military leaders, or high-ranking members of the government such as ambassadors, chancellors, and so forth. In many cases their position may derive from their job, but it may also be hereditary, bestowed, or purchased.

  • Thanks! So I should understand unfit for their positions, stupid, or incompetent as: unfit for their positions, stupid, incompetent, right? If so, I guess this would be better: This suit of clothes is invisible to those stupid, incompetent or unfit for their positions. – AGamePlayer Aug 15 '14 at 4:08

That was the trick of the Emperor's weavers. They knew that everyone would see the Emperor naked, so they "shut up" all the important people by threatening them, "If you can't see the Emperor's clothes, you're not good enough for your position" (in society).

So the only person that dared to tell the truth was a little boy who had no "position" in society and had nothing to lose.

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