mental retardation

noun

Definition of mental retardation

: subaverage intellectual ability equivalent to or less than an IQ of 70 that is accompanied by significant deficits in abilities (as in communication or self-care) necessary for independent daily functioning, is usually present from birth or infancy, and is manifested especially by delayed or abnormal development, by learning difficulties, and by problems in social adjustment : 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

Headlines that exaggerate, or outright fabricate, the risks — 'Vaccines cause mental retardation! autism!' — don't help. Redbook, "A Doctor's Plea: Please Get Your Kids Vaccinated," 21 Mar. 2012 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 Mitigating circumstances: Borderline mental retardation, substantial domination by Coleman, dependent personality, general lack of aggressiveness, head trauma as a child, age at time of murder. Tim Evans, Indianapolis Star, "Indiana death row holds 11 prisoners," 31 Jan. 2014 The suspect was Jesse Daniels, a 19-year-old neighbor who today would be described as having a developmental disability (probably some form of mental retardation). New York Times, "How a Racist Sheriff Railroaded a Disabled Teenager and Got Off," 3 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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Statistics for mental retardation

Last Updated

23 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for mental retardation

The first known use of mental retardation was in 1914

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More Definitions for mental retardation

mental retardation

noun

Medical Definition of mental retardation

: subaverage intellectual ability equivalent to or less than an IQ of 70 that is accompanied by significant deficits in abilities (as in communication or self-care) necessary for independent daily living, is usually present from birth or infancy, and is manifested especially by delayed or abnormal development, by learning difficulties, and by problems in social adjustment : 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

More from Merriam-Webster on mental retardation

Spanish Central: Translation of mental retardation

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about mental retardation

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