imbecile

noun
im·​be·​cile | \ˈim-bə-səl, -ˌsil\

Definition of imbecile 

1 : fool, idiot

2 dated, now offensive : a person affected with moderate mental retardation

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from imbecile

imbecilic \ˌim-​bə-​ˈsi-​lik \ or imbecile adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for imbecile

Synonyms

airhead, birdbrain, blockhead, bonehead, bubblehead, chowderhead, chucklehead, clodpoll (or clodpole), clot [British], cluck, clunk, cretin, cuddy (or cuddie) [British dialect], deadhead, dim bulb [slang], dimwit, dip, dodo, dolt, donkey, doofus [slang], dope, dork [slang], dullard, dum-dum, dumbbell, dumbhead, dummkopf, dummy, dunce, dunderhead, fathead, gander, golem, goof, goon, half-wit, hammerhead, hardhead, idiot, ignoramus, jackass, know-nothing, knucklehead, lamebrain, loggerhead [chiefly dialect], loon, lump, lunkhead, meathead, mome [archaic], moron, mug [chiefly British], mutt, natural, nimrod [slang], nincompoop, ninny, ninnyhammer, nit [chiefly British], nitwit, noddy, noodle, numskull (or numbskull), oaf, pinhead, prat [British], ratbag [chiefly Australian], saphead, schlub (also shlub) [slang], schnook [slang], simpleton, stock, stupe, stupid, thickhead, turkey, woodenhead, yahoo, yo-yo

Antonyms

brain, genius

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of imbecile in a Sentence

He drank too much and started acting like a complete imbecile. only an imbecile would leave their car unlocked, with the keys in the ignition, and then be surprised when the vehicle was stolen

Recent Examples on the Web

Evil is insolent and strong; beauty enchanting but rare; goodness very apt to be weak; folly very apt to be defiant; wickedness to carry the day; imbeciles to be in great places, people of sense in small, and mankind generally unhappy. Sam Sacks, WSJ, "Sam Sacks on Henry James," 18 Nov. 2016 Hard to accept that these imbeciles represent the people in our government. Kelefa Sanneh, The New Yorker, "Everyone Hates Martin Shkreli. Everyone Is Missing the Point," 5 Feb. 2016 The casual fan assumes that the average professional basketball player is an imbecile. Paul Shirley, Esquire, "A Player's Notes," 8 Feb. 2007

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

See More

First Known Use of imbecile

1802, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for imbecile

French imbécile, noun, from adjective, weak, weak-minded, from Latin imbecillus

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about imbecile

Dictionary Entries near imbecile

imbat

imbauba

imbe

imbecile

imbecilely

imbecility

imbed

Statistics for imbecile

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for imbecile

The first known use of imbecile was in 1802

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for imbecile

imbecile

noun

English Language Learners Definition of imbecile

: a very stupid person : an idiot or fool

imbecile

noun
im·​be·​cile | \ˈim-bə-səl \

Kids Definition of imbecile

: idiot, fool

imbecile

noun
im·​be·​cile | \ˈim-bə-səl, -ˌsil \

Medical Definition of imbecile 

dated, now offensive

: a person affected with moderate mental retardation

Other Words from imbecile

imbecile or imbecilic \ˌim-​bə-​ˈsil-​ik \ adjective dated, now offensive
imbecility \ˌim-​bə-​ˈsil-​ət-​ē \ noun plural -ties dated, now offensive

Keep scrolling for more

imbecile

noun
im·​be·​cile | \ˈim-bə-sil, -ˌsīl \

Legal Definition of imbecile 

: an intellectually disabled person especially : a person with a severe intellectual disability used formerly — see also idiot

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on imbecile

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for imbecile

Spanish Central: Translation of imbecile

Nglish: Translation of imbecile for Spanish Speakers

Comments on imbecile

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

WORD OF THE DAY

the figure or shape of a crescent moon

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

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!