(redirected from An idiot)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Encyclopedia.

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 ?
He added: "I don't think being an idiot is against the law.
I felt bad and I looked like an idiot because I was arguing with a lady.
Uniquely funny and often hilarious, An Idiot Abroad ( http://www.
TOLD By An Idiot returns to the Unity with what is being billed as one of the highlights of the theatre's autumn season.
It doesn't do you any favours to be the smartest person in the room, because if you're surrounded by idiots and you point out that someone is an idiot, all the idiots look at you as though you are an idiot" - Comic actor Ricky Gervais (pictured).
Older teens will enjoy Jim's problems and relate to the kind of love that makes you an idiot.
The kid's an idiot, it comes from his upbringing, His parents are probably idiots too.
ACTION MAN George W Bush, far from being an idiot leader of an idiot nation, is a successful businessman and Ivy League graduate who inspires loyalty among his staff.
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.