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.

Examples of mental retardation in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Alireza was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, epilepsy, profound mental retardation, aphasia and intracranial calcifications. oregonlive, 30 June 2020 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, 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, 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, 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, 25 Jan. 2018 Tony says that Peyton has been diagnosed with mental retardation, autism, and attention deficit disorder. Jessica Pishko, Esquire, 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.

See More

First Known Use of mental retardation

1914, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About mental retardation

Time Traveler for mental retardation

Time Traveler

The first known use of mental retardation was in 1914

See more words from the same year

Statistics for mental retardation

Last Updated

18 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Mental retardation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mental%20retardation. Accessed 19 Jun. 2021.

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

Keep scrolling for more

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.

More from Merriam-Webster on mental retardation

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for mental retardation

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about mental retardation

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Return of Name that Color!

  • a light greenish blue color
  • Name that color:
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

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!