Definition of idiot
1 dated, now offensive : a person affected with extreme mental retardation
2 : a foolish or stupid person
Examples of idiot in a sentence
Don't be such an idiot!
only an idiot would invest in a company just because a casual acquaintance recommended it
Did You Know?
The Greek adjective idios means “one’s own” or “private.” The derivative noun idiōtēs means “private person.” A Greek idiōtēs was a person who was not in the public eye, who held no public office. From this came the sense “common man,” and later “ignorant person”—a natural extension, for the common people of ancient Greece were not, in general, particularly learned. The English idiot originally meant “ignorant person,” but the more usual reference now id to a person who lacks basic intelligence or common sense rather than education.
Origin and Etymology of idiot
Middle English, from Anglo-French ydiote, from Latin idiota ignorant person, from Greek idiōtēs one in a private station, layman, ignorant person, from idios one's own, private; akin to Latin suus one's own — more at suicide
First Known Use: 14th century
IDIOT Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of idiot for English Language Learners
: a very stupid or foolish person
IDIOT Defined for Kids
Definition of idiot for Students
: a silly or foolish person
Medical Definition of idiot
dated now offensive : a person affected with extreme mental retardation
idiotadjective, dated now offensive
Legal Definition of idiot
: a person with especially a profound intellectual disability
Additional Notes on idiot
While the terms idiot, imbecile, and moron survive in many state codes and statutes, they are generally no longer used in both medical and legal contexts. The modern terminology distinguishes between mild, moderate, severe, and profound levels of disability. Historically persons with intellectual disabilities have been deprived of certain rights (as in not being allowed to vote). Generally today, an adult with an intellectual disability who is his or her own guardian is not deprived of these rights.
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