Idiot

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IDIOT, Persons. A person who has been without understanding from his nativity, and whom the law, therefore, presumes never likely to attain any. Shelf. on Lun. 2.
     2. It is an imbecility or sterility of mind, and not a perversion of the understanding. Chit. Med. Jur. 345, 327, note s; 1 Russ. on Cr. 6; Bac. Ab. h.t. A; Bro. Ab. h.t.; Co. Litt. 246, 247; 3 Mod. 44; 1 Vern. 16; 4 Rep. 126; 1 Bl. Com. 302. When a man cannot count or number twenty, nor tell his father's or mother's name, nor how old he is, having been frequently told of it, it is a fair presumption that, he is devoid of understanding. F. N. B. 233. Vide 1 Dow, P. C. now series, 392; S. C. 3 Bligh, R. new series, 1. Persons born deaf, dumb, and blind, are, presumed to be idiots, for the senses being the only inlets of knowledge, and these, the most important of them, being closed, all ideas and associations belonging to them are totally excluded from their minds. Co. Litt. 42 Shelf. on Lun. 3. But this is a mere presumption, which, like most others, may be rebutted; and doubtless a person born deaf, dumb, and blind, who could be taught to read and write, would not be considered an idiot. A remarkable instance of such an one may be found in the person of Laura Bridgman, who has been taught how to converse and even to write. This young woman was, in the year 1848, at school at South Boston. Vide Locke on Human Understanding, B. 2 c. 11, Sec. 12, 13; Ayliffe's Pand. 234; 4 Com. Dig. 610; 8 Com. Dig. 644.
     3. Idiots are incapable of committing crimes, or entering into contracts. They cannot of course make a will; but they may acquire property by descent.
     Vide, generally, 1 Dow's Parl. Cas. new series, 392; 3 Bligh's R. 1; 19 Ves. 286, 352, 353; Stock on the Law of Non Compotes Mentis; Bouv. Inst. Index, h.t.

References in classic literature ?
First, he spoke freely of his intention to start shortly for Liverpool and take ship for America; a resolution which cost his good mother some pain, for, after Jacob the idiot, there was not one of her sons to whom her heart clung more than to her youngest-born, David.
But he had yet to learn that it is a dreadful thing to make an idiot fond of you, when you yourself are not of an affectionate disposition: especially an idiot with a pitchfork-- obviously a difficult friend to shake off by rough usage.
But David, you perceive, had reckoned without his host, or, to speak more precisely, without his idiot brother--an item of so uncertain and fluctuating a character, that I doubt whether he would not have puzzled the astute heroes of M.
Children and idiots are not interested in such things," I said.
Wilfred Bohun stood rooted to the spot long enough to see the idiot go out into the sunshine, and even to see his dissolute brother hail him with a sort of avuncular jocularity.
No man but an idiot would pick up that little hammer if he could use a big hammer.
Then he continued, mastering his discomposure: "The words you said were, `No man but an idiot would pick up the small hammer.
He's an idiot, the woman says,' observed the gentleman, shaking his head; 'I don't believe it.
Thou seest how much of an idiot he is, book-learner,' said the gentleman, looking scornfully at his wife.
And when the rest of the world is being run by idiots the only sensible course of action is to rebel.
They are but they quite easily someone on the idiots.
John Hoover (a popular executive coach and leadership/communications consultant, who has also a writer, line producer, and project director for the Marketing/Entertainment Division at The Disney Company and a divisional general manager with McGraw-Hill) finally realized that many of the people he kept trying to "energize" and "enlighten" were, well, idiots.