imbecility (n.) early 15c., "physical weakness, feebleness (of a body part), impotence," from M.Fr. imbécillité and directly from L. imbecillitatem (nom. imbecillitas) "weakness, feebleness," from imbecillus "weak, feeble," traditionally said to mean "unsupported" (quasi sine baculo), from assimilated form of in- "not, opposite of" (see IN- (Cf. in-) (1)) + baculum "a stick" (see BACILLUS (Cf. bacillus)). "Weakness in mind" (as opposed to body) was a secondary sense in Latin but was not attested in English until 1620s.

Etymology dictionary. 2014.


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  • Imbecility — Im be*cil i*ty, n.; pl. {Imbecilities}. [L. imbecillitas: cf. F. imb[ e]cillit[ e].] The quality of being imbecile; weakness; feebleness, esp. of mind. [1913 Webster] Cruelty . . . argues not only a depravedness of nature, but also a meanness of… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • imbecility — [im΄bə sil′ə tē] n. pl. imbecilities [Fr imbécillité < L imbecillitas] 1. the state of being an imbecile 2. behavior like that of an imbecile; great foolishness or stupidity 3. an imbecile act or remark …   English World dictionary

  • Imbecility — (Roget s Thesaurus) Folly. < N PARAG:Imbecility >N GRP: N 1 Sgm: N 1 want of intelligence want of intelligence &c. 498 want of intellect &c. 450 Sgm: N 1 shadowness shadowness silliness foolishness &c. >Adj. Sgm: N 1 imbecility… …   English dictionary for students

  • imbecility — 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

  • imbecility — noun (plural ties) Date: circa 1533 1. the quality or state of being imbecile or an imbecile 2. a. utter foolishness; also futility b. something that is foolish or nonsensical …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • imbecility — /im beuh sil i tee/, n., pl. imbecilities. 1. Psychol. the state of being an imbecile. 2. an instance or point of weakness; feebleness; incapability. 3. stupidity; silliness; absurdity. 4. an instance of this. [1525 35; earlier imbecillity < L… …   Universalium

  • imbecility — noun a) The quality of being imbecile; weakness; feebleness, especially of mind. b) Something imbecilic; a stupid action, behaviour, etc …   Wiktionary

  • imbecility — Synonyms and related words: amentia, arrested development, asininity, backwardness, battiness, blithering idiocy, brainlessness, buffoonery, clownishness, crackpottedness, crankiness, craziness, cretinism, daffiness, desipience, disability,… …   Moby Thesaurus

  • imbecility — I (New American Roget s College Thesaurus) n. idiocy. See insanity. II (Roget s IV) n. 1. [Folly] Syn. foolishness, idiocy, silliness, absurdity; see stupidity 1 , 2 . 2. [Feeble mindedness] Syn. moronity, retardation, cretinism; see insanity 1 …   English dictionary for students

  • imbecility — im·be·cil·i·ty || ‚ɪmbɪ sɪlÉ™tɪ n. mentally handicapped condition (Psychology); stupidity, foolishness, silliness …   English contemporary dictionary

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