imbecility

noun
im·​be·​cil·​i·​ty | \ ˌim-bə-ˈsi-lə-tē How to pronounce imbecility (audio) \
plural imbecilities

Definition of imbecility

1a : the quality or state of being very stupid or foolish : utter foolishness … it seemed a very odd business, filled with illusions and delusions, at times noble to the point of imbecility and at other times base to the point of amorality.— Colleen McCullough also : futility
b : something that is foolish or nonsensical … his satire on the imbecilities and greed of politicians …— Nicholas Von Hoffman
2 dated, now offensive, see usage paragraph below : the condition of being affected with moderate intellectual disability

Keep scrolling for more

Usage of Imbecility

The terms idiot, imbecile, moron, and their derivatives, such as imbecility, 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.

Examples of imbecility in a Sentence

was arrested for the sheer imbecility of speeding down a dark road with no headlights on we were stunned by the imbecility of the ideas presented by this once-respected biologist

First Known Use of imbecility

1624, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for imbecility

Middle English imbecillite "weakness of a body part, infirmity," borrowed from Middle French and Latin; Middle French imbecillité "weakness, feebleness, intellectual deficiency," borrowed from Latin imbēcillitāt-, imbēcillitās "physical or intellectual weakness," from imbēcillus "physically weak, feeble" + -itāt-, -itās -ity — more at imbecile entry 2

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about imbecility

Time Traveler for imbecility

Time Traveler

The first known use of imbecility was in 1624

See more words from the same year

Statistics for imbecility

Last Updated

20 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Imbecility.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/imbecility. Accessed 23 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on imbecility

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

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

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!