idiot

noun
id·​i·​ot | \ ˈi-dē-ət How to pronounce idiot (audio) \
plural idiots

Definition of idiot

1 : a foolish or stupid person "… Idiot that I am to wear my heart on my sleeve! …"— George Bernard Shaw
2 dated, now offensive, see usage paragraph below : a person affected with extreme intellectual disability

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from idiot

idiot adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for idiot

Synonyms

Antonyms

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Usage of Idiot

The terms idiot, imbecile, moron, and their derivatives were formerly used as technical descriptors in medical, educational, and regulatory contexts. These uses were broadly rejected by the close of the 20th century and are now considered offensive.

Idiot Has Greek Roots

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 is to a person who lacks basic intelligence or common sense rather than education.

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

First Known Use of idiot

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for 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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About idiot

Time Traveler for idiot

Time Traveler

The first known use of idiot was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for idiot

Cite this Entry

“Idiot.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/idiot. Accessed 24 Jun. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for idiot

idiot

noun

English Language Learners Definition of idiot

: a very stupid or foolish person

idiot

noun
id·​i·​ot | \ ˈi-dē-ət How to pronounce idiot (audio) \

Kids Definition of idiot

: a silly or foolish person

idiot

noun
id·​i·​ot | \ ˈid-ē-ət How to pronounce idiot (audio) \

Medical Definition of idiot

dated, now offensive, see usage paragraph below
: a person affected with extreme intellectual disability

Usage of Idiot

The terms idiot, imbecile, moron, and their derivatives were formerly used as technical descriptors in medical, educational, and regulatory contexts. These uses were broady rejected by the close of the 20th century and are now considered offensive.

Keep scrolling for more

idiot

noun
id·​i·​ot | \ ˈi-dē-ət How to pronounce idiot (audio) \

Legal Definition of idiot

: a person with especially a profound intellectual disability

Note: 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.

More from Merriam-Webster on idiot

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for idiot

Nglish: Translation of idiot for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of idiot for Arabic Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Return of Name that Color!

  • a light greenish blue color
  • Name that color:
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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