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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 ?
I felt bad and I looked like an idiot because I was arguing with a lady.
Of course, more than once, rye had a source say to me, "You know, you really are an idiot.
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12) English law specifically conveyed feudal property of an idiot to the king's custody during the lifetime of the person; after death it was returned to the idiot's heirs.
If you scan the back cover of the the new co-ops book and take the promotional bullet-points at face value, you'd have to be an idiot not to read it.
Celeste was far too sweet a person--most of the time, anyway--for me ever to call her an idiot.
Only an idiot would not have expected this series eventually to branch out into mainline religion.
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Recorder Gargan, sentencing him at Newcastle Crown Court, said: "He is an idiot, but a dangerous idiot.
A combined production between Told by an Idiot and Drum Theatre Plymouth, the tour also features post-show events in which the audience will be invited to take part in games and practical exercises.
TOLD By An Idiot returns to the Unity with what is being billed as one of the highlights of the theatre's autumn season.
They are idiots, they know they're idiots, but it is easier to be an idiot than try and improve their lifestyle.