idiot

play
noun id·i·ot \ˈi-dē-ət\

Definition of idiot

  1. 1 dated, now offensive :  a person affected with extreme mental retardation

  2. 2 :  a foolish or stupid person

idiot

adjective

Examples of idiot in a Sentence

  1. Don't be such an idiot!

  2. only an idiot would invest in a company just because a casual acquaintance recommended it

Recent Examples of idiot from the Web

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

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.

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


IDIOT Defined for English Language Learners

idiot

play
noun

Definition of idiot for English Language Learners

  • : a very stupid or foolish person


IDIOT Defined for Kids

idiot

play
noun id·i·ot \ˈi-dē-ət\

Definition of idiot for Students

  1. :  a silly or foolish person


Medical Dictionary

idiot

play
noun id·i·ot \ˈid-ē-ət\

Medical Definition of idiot

  1. dated now offensive :  a person affected with extreme mental retardation

idiot

adjective, dated now offensive

Law Dictionary

idiot

play
noun id·i·ot \ˈi-dē-ət\

Legal Definition of idiot

  1. :  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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