fee·​ble·​mind·​ed ˌfē-bəl-ˈmīn-dəd How to pronounce feebleminded (audio)
variants or feeble-minded
dated, offensive : impaired in intellectual ability : affected with intellectual disability

Note: This meaning of the word feebleminded, which is associated especially with eugenics practices of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, is no longer used in medical, educational, and regulatory contexts and is considered offensive.

: foolish, stupid
… sexist stereotypes painting women as too feeble-minded and gullible to be the proper stewards of their own lives.Salon.com
… circled by blowhards too feeble-minded to understand their own racism.Eamon Lynch
obsolete : irresolute, vacillating

Examples of feebleminded in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web That, Dovey Johnson Roundtree knew, could have immense significance for her client, a feebleminded day laborer accused of one of the most sensational murders of the mid-20th century. Margalit Fox, New York Times, 21 May 2018 While the Queen is patient and nurturing with her addled husband, even making excuses for him when his erratic behavior turns violent, others in Madrid see his feebleminded unpredictability as cause for urgent replacement. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 18 Dec. 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'feebleminded.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1525, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of feebleminded was circa 1525

Dictionary Entries Near feebleminded

Cite this Entry

“Feebleminded.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/feebleminded. Accessed 25 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


fee·​ble·​mind·​ed ˌfē-bəl-ˈmīn-dəd How to pronounce feebleminded (audio)
: not having normal intelligence : mentally deficient
feeblemindedly adverb
feeblemindedness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on feebleminded

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