imbecile

imbecile
imbecile (adj.) 1540s, imbecille "weak, feeble" (especially in reference to the body), from M.Fr. imbecile (15c.), from L. imbecillus "weak, feeble" (see IMBECILITY (Cf. imbecility)). Sense shifted to mental weakness from mid-18c. As a noun, "feeble-minded person," it is attested from 1802. Traditionally an adult with a mental age of roughly 6 to 9 (above an idiot but beneath a moron).

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  • imbécile — [ ɛ̃besil ] adj. et n. • 1496; lat. imbecillus I ♦ Adj. 1 ♦ Vx Faible, débile. « L homme, imbécile ver de terre » (Pascal). 2 ♦ Méd. Qui est atteint d imbécillité. ⇒ arriéré. 3 ♦ (fin XVIIe) Cour …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Imbecile — Im be*cile, v. t. To weaken; to make imbecile; as, to imbecile men s courage. [Obs.] Jer. Taylor. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Imbecile — Im be*cile, a. [L. imbecillis, and imbecillus; of unknown origin: cf. F. imb[ e]cile.] Destitute of strength, whether of body or mind; feeble; impotent; esp., mentally wea; feeble minded; as, hospitals for the imbecile and insane. Syn: Weak;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • imbecile — [adj] stupid, foolish asinine, backward, deranged, dim witted, dull, fatuous, feeble minded, idiotic, imbecilic, inane, ludicrous, moronic, simple, simple minded, slow, thick, witless; concept 402 Ant. brainy, intelligent, smart imbecile [n] very …   New thesaurus

  • imbecile — [im′bəsil′ikim′bə sil, im′bəsəl; ] Brit [, im′bəsēl΄, im′bəsīl΄] n. [Fr imbécile < L imbecilis, imbecillus, feeble, weak, prob. < in , without + baculus, staff (see BACILLUS): hence “without support”] 1. Obs. a retarded person mentally… …   English World dictionary

  • Imbecile — Im be*cile, n. 1. One destitute of strength; esp., one of feeble mind; sometimes used as a pejorative term. [1913 Webster] 2. (Psychology) A person with a degree of mental retardation between that of an idiot and a moron; in a former… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • imbecile — im·be·cile / im bə sil, ˌsīl/ n: a mentally retarded or deficient person; esp: a severely mentally retarded person used esp. formerly; see also idiot Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster. 1996 …   Law dictionary

  • imbecile — idiot, moron, *fool, simpleton, natural …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • imbecile — ► NOUN informal ▪ a stupid person. ► ADJECTIVE ▪ stupid. DERIVATIVES imbecilic adjective imbecility noun (pl. imbecilities) . ORIGIN originally in the sense «physically weak»: from Latin imbecillus without a supporting staff …   English terms dictionary

  • imbécile — (in bé si l ) adj. 1°   Faible d esprit et de corps, incapable. •   N es tu pas, ô mon Dieu, mon seigneur souverain, Et moi ton serviteur pauvre, lâche, imbécile, Dont tout l effort est inutile, à moins qu avoir l appui de ta divine main ?, CORN …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

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