Imbecility


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IMBECILITY, med. jur. A weakness of the mind, caused by the absence or obliteration of natural or acquired ideas; or it is described to be an abnormal deficiency either in those faculties which acquaint us with the qualities and ordinary relations of things, or in those which furnish us with the moral motives that regulate our relations and conduct towards our fellow men. It is frequently attended with excessive activity. of one or more of the animal propensities.
     2. Imbecility differs from idiocy in this, that the subjects of the former possess some intellectual capacity, though inferior in degree to that possessed by the great mass of mankind; while those of the latter are utterly destitute of reason. Imbecility differs also from stupidity. (q.v.) The former consists in a defect of the mind, which renders it unable to examine the data presented to it by the senses, and therefrom to deduce the correct judgment; that is, a defect of intensity, or reflective power. The latter is occasioned by a want of intensity, or perceptive power.
     3. There are various degrees of this disease. It has been attempted to classify the degrees of imbecility, but the careful observer of nature will perhaps be soon satisfied that the shades of difference between one species and another, are almost imperceptible. Ray, Med. Jur. ch. 3; 2 Beck, Med. Jur. 550, 542; 1 Hagg. Ecc. R. 384; 2 Philm. R. 449; 1 Litt. R. 252, 5 John. Ch. R. 161; 1 Litt. R. 101; Des Maladies mentales, considerees dans leurs rapports avec la legislation civille et criminelle, 8; Georget, Discussion medico-legale sur la folie, 140.

References in classic literature ?
Go then, and earn your wages" In short, the almost torpid creatures of my own fancy twitted me with imbecility, and not without fair occasion.
In course of time he'll come back again on our hands, like a bad shilling; more chances will fall in his way, as a necessary consequence of his meritorious imbecility.
In this class, likewise, we must assign places to those who have encountered that worst of ill success, a higher fortune than their abilities could vindicate; writers, actors, painters, the pets of a day, but whose laurels wither unrenewed amid their hoary hair; politicians, whom some malicious contingency of affairs has thrust into conspicuous station, where, while the world stands gazing at them, the dreary consciousness of imbecility makes them curse their birth hour.
Well, yes, heroically," she said; and there passed between us dim smiles, I have no doubt of the most touching imbecility on earth.
Nor is it difficult to perceive the tendency of this abandon-to elevate immeasurably all the energies of mind-but, again, so to mingle the greatest possible fire, force, delicacy, and all good things, with the lowest possible bathos, baldness, and imbecility, as to render it not a matter of doubt that the average results of mind in such a school will be found inferior to those results in one (ceteris paribus) more artificial.
When he does get to the right place he has forgotten his name and address and is in a general condition of hopeless imbecility.
I spit upon his house, upon his name, upon his imbecility," all of which she makes the carpet represent.
The advantages of natural folly in a beautiful girl have been already set forth by the capital pen of a sister author; and to her treatment of the subject I will only add, in justice to men, that though to the larger and more trifling part of the sex, imbecility in females is a great enhancement of their personal charms, there is a portion of them too reasonable and too well informed themselves to desire anything more in woman than ignorance.
Very mortifying is the reluctant experience that some unfriendly excess or imbecility neutralizes the promise of genius.
If his deafness did happen to betray him here and there, by some incoherent apostrophe or some unintelligible question, it passed for profundity with some, and for imbecility with others.
Its head is painfully erect, its expression is amiability carried to verge of imbecility.
His features were like his sister's, but while in her case everything was lit up by a joyous, self-satisfied, youthful, and constant smile of animation, and by the wonderful classic beauty of her figure, his face on the contrary was dulled by imbecility and a constant expression of sullen self-confidence, while his body was thin and weak.