mental retardation

noun

Definition of mental retardation

: mild to severe impairment in intellectual ability equivalent to an IQ of 70 to 75 or below that is accompanied by significant limitations in social, practical, and conceptual skills (as in interpersonal communication, reasoning, or self-care) necessary for independent daily functioning and that has an onset before age 18 : intellectual disability

Note: The term intellectual disability is now preferred over mental retardation especially in medical, educational, and regulatory contexts. Mental retardation is still widely used in speech and writing, though it may sometimes be considered offensive.

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Other Words from mental retardation

mentally retarded adjective

Examples of mental retardation in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Another victim diagnosed with mental retardation at an early age was robbed of her social security income after Mearis allegedly re-directed the funds to himself, the release stated. Rebecca Hennes, Houston Chronicle, "Houston pimp faces up to life in prison after being convicted on multiple sex trafficking charges," 23 Oct. 2019 And so, parents forget, or more likely never knew, that 33 of every 100,000 people who experienced actual measles ended up with mental retardation or central nervous system damage. Richard Conniff, National Geographic, "The world before vaccines is a world we can’t afford to forget," 16 Aug. 2019 Perry, who had previously presided over 29 death penalty cases and sentenced 12 killers to death, held several hearings and concluded that Lewis met the legal defininition of intellectual impairment, known as mental retardation in the past. Maura Dolan, latimes.com, "California Supreme Court overturns killer's death sentence, citing intellectual disability," 24 May 2018 The Star Telegram reports an order was signed on Jan. 11 by Magistrate Rainey L. Webb to be examined for mental illness and mental retardation. Heather Leighton, Houston Chronicle, "Reports: Fort Worth man hid cameras, recorded women and kids to catch cheating wife, he told police," 25 Jan. 2018 Tony says that Peyton has been diagnosed with mental retardation, autism, and attention deficit disorder. Jessica Pishko, Esquire, "The FBI Accused Him of Terrorism. He Couldn't Tie His Shoes.," 8 Sep. 2016

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

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First Known Use of mental retardation

1914, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for mental retardation

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The first known use of mental retardation was in 1914

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Cite this Entry

“Mental retardation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mental%20retardation. Accessed 7 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for mental retardation

mental retardation

noun

Medical Definition of mental retardation

: mild to severe impairment in intellectual ability equivalent to an IQ of 70 to 75 or below that is accompanied by significant limitations in social, practical, and conceptual skills (as in interpersonal communication, reasoning, or self-care) necessary for independent daily functioning and that has an onset before age 18 : intellectual disability

Note: The term intellectual disability is now preferred over mental retardation especially in medical, educational, and regulatory contexts. Mental retardation is still widely used in speech and writing, though it may sometimes be considered offensive.

Other Words from mental retardation

mentally retarded adjective
Now age 25, she lives in a group home for mentally retarded adults. — Sandra Blakeslee Patients are short and thin, mentally retarded and can have many other problems … — Sue Goetinck

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More from Merriam-Webster on mental retardation

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for mental retardation

Spanish Central: Translation of mental retardation

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about mental retardation

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