What does imbecile mean?

Definitions for imbecileˈɪm bə sɪl, -səl; esp. Brit. -ˌsil

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word imbecile.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. idiot, imbecile, cretin, moron, changeling, half-wit, retard(adj)

    a person of subnormal intelligence

  2. imbecile, imbecilic, idiotic(adj)

    having a mental age of three to seven years


  1. Imbecile(n.)

    (Psychology) A person with a degree of mental retardation between that of an idiot and a moron; in a former classification of mentally retarded person, it applied to a person with an adult mental age of from four to eith years, and an I.Q. of from 26 to 50.


  1. imbecile(Noun)

    A person with limited mental capacity who can perform tasks and think only like a young child, in medical circles meaning a person who lacks the capacity to develop beyond the mental age of a normal five to seven-year-old child.

  2. imbecile(Noun)

    A fool, an idiot.

  3. Origin: From imbecillus, literally “without a staff”.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Imbecile(adj)

    destitute of strength, whether of body or mind; feeble; impotent; esp., mentally wea; feeble-minded; as, hospitals for the imbecile and insane

  2. Imbecile(noun)

    one destitute of strength; esp., one of feeble mind

  3. Imbecile(verb)

    to weaken; to make imbecile; as, to imbecile men's courage


  1. Imbecile

    Imbecile was a medical category of people with moderate to severe mental retardation, as well as a type of criminal. The term arises from the Latin word imbecillus, meaning weak, or weak-minded. It included people with an IQ of 26–50, between "moron" and "idiot". The meaning was further refined into mental and moral imbecility. The concepts of "moral insanity", "moral idiocy"," and "moral imbecility", led to the emerging field of eugenic criminology, which held that crime can be reduced by preventing "feeble-minded" people from reproducing. "Imbecile" as a concrete classification was popularized by psychologist Henry H. Goddard and was used in 1927 by United States Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. in his ruling in the forced-sterilization case Buck v. Bell, 274 U.S. 200. The concept is closely associated with psychology, psychiatry, criminology, and eugenics. However, the term imbecile quickly passed into vernacular usage as a derogatory term, and fell out of professional use in the 20th century in favor of mental retardation. In recent decades, the phrases "mental retardation", "mentally retarded", and "retarded" have similarly come to be viewed as derogatory terms and their usage now is considered to be politically incorrect much like the words moron, imbecile, and idiot, formerly used as scientific terms in the early 20th century, also came to be viewed as derogatory. On October 5, 2010, President Barack Obama signed Senate Bill 2781, known as "Rosa's Law", which changed references in many Federal statutes that referred to "mental retardation" to refer instead to "intellectual disability".

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Imbecile

    im′be-sēl, adj. without strength either of body or mind: feeble: fatuous.—n. one destitute of strength, either of mind or body.—n. Imbecil′ity, state of being imbecile: weakness of body or mind. [O. Fr. imbecile—L. imbecillis; origin unknown.]


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of imbecile in Chaldean Numerology is: 6

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of imbecile in Pythagorean Numerology is: 4

Sample Sentences & Example Usage

  1. Albert Schweitzer:

    Man is a clever animal who behaves like an imbecile.

  2. The Donald:

    On this one I think Rosie should win, but Rosie is not much herself. I think anybody that's against the war in Iraq is the winner of the fight, because to justify the war in Iraq -- only an imbecile could do that.

  3. Ibn-e-Safi:

    Why is it that an ordinary clerk has to pass the examination for clerkship, a police constable has to go through training as a recruit before he could be commissioned and on the other hand vegetable-selling middlemen, good-for-nothing fuedals and imbecile merchants go sit in the Assemblies directly and start legisltating and some even become members of the cabinet

  4. Henry Louis Mencken:

    Life without sex might be safer but it would be unbearably dull. It is the sex instinct which makes women seem beautiful, which they are once in a blue moon, and men seem wise and brave, which they never are at all. Throttle it, denaturalize it, take it away, and human existence would be reduced to the prosiac, laborious, boresome, imbecile level of life in an anthill.

Images & Illustrations of imbecile

  1. imbecileimbecileimbecile

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"imbecile." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2018. Web. 20 Feb. 2018. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/imbecile>.

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