fee·​ble·​mind·​ed | \ ˌfē-bəl-ˈmīn-dəd How to pronounce feebleminded (audio) \
variants: or feeble-minded

Definition of feebleminded

1 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.

2 : 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
3 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, "Dovey Johnson Roundtree, Barrier-Breaking Lawyer, Dies at 104," 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, "'Farinelli and the King': Theater Review," 18 Dec. 2017

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

First Known Use of feebleminded

circa 1525, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about feebleminded

Time Traveler for feebleminded

Time Traveler

The first known use of feebleminded was circa 1525

See more words from the same year

Statistics for feebleminded

Last Updated

20 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Feebleminded.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/feebleminded. Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for feebleminded



English Language Learners Definition of feebleminded

often offensive : having less than normal intelligence
: foolish or stupid : not sensible

More from Merriam-Webster on feebleminded

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for feebleminded

Comments on feebleminded

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Who Knew?

Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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