cre·​tin | \ ˈkrē-tᵊn How to pronounce cretin (audio) \

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 How to pronounce cretin (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for cretin


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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 But at this point, the most surprising thing Donald Trump could do is not act like Donald Trump—to not be a venal cretin for the first time in his life. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Donald Trump’s Taxes Aren’t Surprising, But They’re Still a Huge Deal," 28 Sep. 2020 My suggestion: Red and Blue, tell this gathering of cretins to keep their hands off Social Security. Scott Burns, Dallas News, "Scott Burns: Tell politicians to keep their hands off Social Security," 25 Apr. 2020 But the good things Huff did 10 years ago don’t give him a lifetime pass to be a cretin. Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, "Opinion: San Francisco Giants right to exclude Aubrey Huff from 2010 World Series celebration," 18 Feb. 2020 On planets like yours, which are already predisposed to tribalistic self-destruction, putting a raging cretin near a large cache of weapons is often the best way to insure destruction. Bob Vulfov, The New Yorker, "Hello, Earthlings, We Are Here to Destroy You," 5 Nov. 2019 There are the buck-passers, cretins who are content to simply stand up, find another table, and pass their misfortune on to some other unsuspecting soul. Amiel Stanek, Bon Appétit, "This 20-Cent Wedge of Plastic Will Make You a Restaurant Hero," 26 Aug. 2019 Sandy Hook Elementary School was razed and rebuilt but conspiracy mongers, cretins, and potential copycats continue to feed their malignant imaginations. Krista Kafer, The Denver Post, "Kafer: Don’t raze Columbine High School; hold trespassers accountable," 20 June 2019 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

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

1775, 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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Cite this Entry

“Cretin.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for cretin



English Language Learners Definition of cretin

informal + offensive : a stupid or annoying person


cre·​tin | \ ˈkrēt-ᵊn How to pronounce cretin (audio) \

Medical Definition of cretin

often offensive
: one affected with cretinism

Other Words from cretin

cretinous \ -​ᵊn-​əs How to pronounce cretin (audio) \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on cretin

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cretin

Nglish: Translation of cretin for Spanish Speakers

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