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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 periodicals archive ?
WHEN I was young I remember in, I think the Beano, a cartoon strip called The Numbskulls.
The numbskull is more likely to have the albums of Bruce Springsteen,Dire Straits and,possibly, Bon Jovi in his dreary collection.
Any numbskull who attempts to test the texture of oil on canvas will set off a cacophony that will make the casino seem like a church vestibule by comparison.
ATROCIOUS ITV quiz show Take on the Twisters, which did provide one moment of glorious numbskull stupidity as host Julie Bradbury asked: "Which battle is depicted on the Bayeux Tapestry?
Leaving lone female Jade to battle it out with wrestler Ricky, numbskull Nick and tearful Tom.
Tracy almost died from an ecstasy overdose at 18 but was saved by the donation of a kidney from her mum's fiance hours after he had been kicked to death on a canal towpath, she walked out on her hubby after an affair, later had a kid by Steve McDonald but sold it to Roy Cropper after convincing the numbskull that he was the dad and lied about having to have an abortion so that she could ponce some cash off Charlie to buy a pair of shoes.
I am pleased to announce that this year's Darwin Awards have been won by a pistol-packing numbskull from the Deep South of America.
His dim sidekicks, Portcullis (Rowan Talbot) and Numbskull (Charles Baker), provide some great knockabout humour, and Numbskull in particular reveals a more rounded character with his unrequited love for Maid Marian.
The video for Ash's new single Numbskull (out April 26) features Tim Wheeler, above, in the scud.
The star of the movie Numbskull (15) is Paul Murphy, former leader of the 15-strong group The Destroyers.
This is an especially revealing stat - it reveals that the bloke who designed it was a numbskull.
After his stunning display of sensitivity, this know-nothing numbskull pompously declared: "In my day job I'm a marketing manager.