Idiocy


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IDIOCY, med. jur. That condition of mind, in which the reflective, or all or a part of the affective powers, are either entirely wanting, or are manifested to the least possible extent.
     2. Idiocy generally depends upon organic defects. The most striking physical trait, and one seldom wanting, is the diminutive size of the head, particularly of the anterior superior portions, indicating a deficiency of the anterior lobes of the brain. According to Gall, whose observations on this subject are entitled to great consideration, its circumference, measured immediately over the orbiter arch, and the most prominent part of the occipital bone, is between 11« and 14« inches. Gall, sur les Fonctions, p. 329. In the intelligent adult, it usually measures from 21 to 22 inches. Chit. Med. Jur. 248. See, on this subject, the learned work of Dr. Morton, of Philadelphia*, entitled Crania Americana. The brain of an idiot equals that of a new born infant; that is, about one-fourth, one-fifth, or one- sixth of the cerebral mass of an adult's in the enjoyment of his faculties. The above is the only constant character. observed in the heads of idiots. In other respects their forms are as various as those of other persons. When idiocy supervenes in early infancy, the head is sometime remarkable for immense size. This unnatural enlargement arises from some kind of morbid action preventing the development of the cerebral mass, and producing serous cysts, dropsical effusions, and the like.
     3. In idiocy the features are irregular; the forehead low, retreating, and narrowed to a point; the eyes are unsteady, and often squint the lips are. thick, and the mouth is generally open; the gums are spongy, and the teeth are defective; the limbs are crooked and feeble. The senses are usually entirely wanting; many are deaf and dumb, or blind and others are incapable of perceiving odors, and show little or no discrimination in their food for want of taste. Their movements are constrained and awkward, they walk badly, and easily fall, and are not less awkward with their hands, dropping generally what is given to them. They are seldom able to articulate beyond a few sounds. They are generally affected with rickets, epilepsy, scrofula, or paralysis. Its subjects seldom live beyond the twenty-fifth year, and are incurable, as there is natural deformity which cannot be remedied. Vide Chit. Med. Jur. 345; Ray's Med. Jur. c. 2; 1 Beck's Med. Jur. 571 Shelf. on Lun. Index, h.t.; and Idiot.

References in classic literature ?
[Tapping his forehead.] Idiocy? Hereditary, I suppose.
Same thing as we used to call idiocy fifty years ago.
Richard at that instant thrusting a mug before him, his features changed to the grin of idiocy, and seizing the vessel with both hands, he sank backward on the bench and drank until satiated, when he made an effort to lay aside the mug with the helplessness of total inebriety.
I assure you it puzzled my head so that, between Therese my sister and Jose the boy, I lived in a state of idiocy almost.
For the rest, he thought the dialectical part of his argument of little worth; he saw only too clearly that the result of these ecstatic moments was stupefaction, mental darkness, idiocy. No argument was possible on that point.
All the more did the affairs of the great world interest her, when communicated in the letters of high-born relations: the way in which fascinating younger sons had gone to the dogs by marrying their mistresses; the fine old-blooded idiocy of young Lord Tapir, and the furious gouty humors of old Lord Megatherium; the exact crossing of genealogies which had brought a coronet into a new branch and widened the relations of scandal,--these were topics of which she retained details with the utmost accuracy, and reproduced them in an excellent pickle of epigrams, which she herself enjoyed the more because she believed as unquestionably in birth and no-birth as she did in game and vermin.
The sudden uncontrolled rage and now the equally uncontrolled and mirthless laughter but emphasized the facial attributes of idiocy.
The period of human life intermediate between the idiocy of infancy and the folly of youth -- two removes from the sin of manhood and three from the remorse of age.
These two numpties can barely open their mouths without uttering some idiocy that demonstrates how completely out of their depth they are.
In the absence of a planned policy, we stagger towards the idiocy of a "do or die" no-deal Brexit on October 31.
But I'm struggling to swallow recent attacks from Jeremy Paxman who reckons the BBC is "ruled by corporate idiocy" and are "shooting themselves in the foot" over OAP licences.
I was, at some point in my career as a city councillor, chairman of the Conservation Advisory Committee: I can assure you that no one on this Committee would have smiled upon this idiocy.