cre·​tin | \ˈkrē-tᵊn \

Definition of cretin 

1 often offensive : one afflicted with cretinism

2 informal : a stupid, vulgar, or insensitive person : clod, lout … they started doing stupid boy stuff, like trying to untie our straps and pour sand down our bathing suits. Really, guys were such cretins sometimes.— Marilyn Reynolds

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Other Words from cretin

cretinous \ˈkrē-​tᵊn-​əs \ adjective

Synonyms for cretin


bastard, beast, bleeder [British], blighter [chiefly British], boor, bounder, bugger, buzzard, cad, chuff, churl, clown, creep, crud [slang], crumb [slang], cur, dirtbag [slang], dog, fink, heel, hound, jerk, joker, louse, lout, pill, rat, rat fink, reptile, rotter, schmuck [slang], scum, scumbag [slang], scuzzball [slang], skunk, sleaze, sleazebag [slang], sleazeball [slang], slime, slimeball [slang], slob, snake, so-and-so, sod [chiefly British], stinkard, stinker, swine, toad, varmint, vermin

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Did You Know?

Chronic iodine deficiencies in diet can result in malfunctions of the thyroid gland, the gland that produces hormones necessary for normal human development. Some mountainous regions, such as parts of the Alps, do not naturally provide their inhabitants with a diet rich enough in iodine, and the resultant hypothyroidism causes stunted growth and mental retardation. In Franco-Provençal (the Romance speech of French Switzerland and adjacent areas of France), a person affected by hypothyroidism was called a cretin, literally, “wretch, innocent victim,” The word meant simply “Christian” and emphasized the hypothyroid victim's basic humanity.

Examples of cretin in a Sentence

a cretin who's constantly forwarding e-mails filled with racist and sexist jokes in discussions anyone who disagrees with her is inevitably called a cretin

Recent Examples on the Web

One irony is that the same people praising Anonymous have for months been denouncing all who work for Mr. Trump as moral cretins who will be condemned by history. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "The Anonymous Resistance," 6 Sep. 2018 Sticking it to uppity black millionaires has been good for business since the first cretin came up with the lie that the first black president wasn't born in this country, and well before that even. Robert Klemko,, "Don't Be Fooled: President Trump Is Using NFL as Distraction for Bigger Issues Surrounding White House," 5 June 2018 Anyone who saw pictures of that kid lying on the pavement with all the bullet wounds and did not feel a tinge of empathy is a cretin. Alan Feuer, New York Times, "A Murder, a Conviction and a Never-Ending Case," 21 Feb. 2018 Embodied by a deadpanning Brade Bradshaw, the teacher warns us not to expect much from the night’s show, while simultaneously making clear that the kids are cretins and monsters. Mike Fischer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "One duo shines amid Rep Lab experiments," 16 Feb. 2018 Compared to working for that little cretin Snyder, the Bengals are positively aspirational. Paul Daugherty,, "Doc: Reds remain a gigantic what if," 14 Dec. 2017 Yes, there are nooses hanging all over America, and some little cretins decided to use one, unfortunately. Angela Helm, The Root, "New Hampshire Police Refuse to Release Information in Case of 8-Year-Old Biracial Boy Who Was Nearly Lynched," 10 Sep. 2017 But while the New Yorker focused its ire on the execrable Gateway Pundit, that particular cretin hasn’t been given a single question. Seth Stevenson, Slate Magazine, "The Daily Show," 10 Apr. 2017 Do not let cretins get away with personal attacks of the Howard Stern kind. Peter King,, "Ten Things I Think I Think: Relax, Jamal Adams; Marshawn Lynch Knows Better," 23 Oct. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cretin.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of cretin

1779, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for cretin

French crétin, from French dialect cretin, literally, wretch, innocent victim, from Latin christianus Christian

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Last Updated

16 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for cretin

The first known use of cretin was in 1779

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More Definitions for cretin


cre·​tin | \ˈkrēt-ᵊn \

Medical Definition of cretin 

often offensive

: one affected with cretinism

Other Words from cretin

cretinous \-​ᵊn-​əs \ adjective

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More from Merriam-Webster on cretin

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cretin

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cretin

Spanish Central: Translation of cretin

Nglish: Translation of cretin for Spanish Speakers

Comments on cretin

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to make faulty or ineffective

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