cre·​tin·​ism | \ ˈkrē-tᵊn-ˌi-zəm How to pronounce cretinism (audio) \

Definition of cretinism

: a usually congenital condition marked by physical stunting and intellectual disability and caused by severe hypothyroidism

Examples of cretinism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Even Switzerland, like Bolivia, Nepal and other mountainous countries, once had high rates of goiters and cretinism caused by iodine deficiency, as did low-lying flood-prone areas far from the ocean in Eastern Europe and Southeast Asia. Donald G. Mcneil Jr., New York Times, "Should We Be Buying Iodized Salt?," 21 July 2017 In 1997, according to Unicef, almost a fifth of its population had goiters — swollen thyroid glands in the neck that indicate serious deficiency, which can also cause dwarfism and cretinism. Donald G. Mcneil Jr., New York Times, "How a Tsunami in Japan Endangered Children in Cambodia," 15 May 2017

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

First Known Use of cretinism

1801, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about cretinism

Statistics for cretinism

Last Updated

23 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cretinism

The first known use of cretinism was in 1801

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for cretinism


cre·​tin·​ism | \ -ᵊn-ˌiz-əm How to pronounce cretinism (audio) \

Medical Definition of cretinism

: a usually congenital condition marked by physical stunting and intellectual disability and caused by severe thyroid deficiency

called also infantile myxedema

More from Merriam-Webster on cretinism

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cretinism

Britannica English: Translation of cretinism for Arabic Speakers

Comments on cretinism

What made you want to look up cretinism? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!