Idiot


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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 classic literature ?
David, not having studied the psychology of idiots, was not aware that they are not to be wrought upon by imaginative fears.
'Thou seest how much of an idiot he is, book-learner,' said the gentleman, looking scornfully at his wife.
"Well," said the curate, "no man but an idiot did." The rest stared at him with eyes arrested and riveted, and he went on in a febrile and feminine agitation.
"Why do these idiots always assume that the only person who hates the wife's lover is the wife's husband?
"Is it true," appealed Minora to the Man of Wrath, busy with his lemons in the background, "that your law classes women with children and idiots?"
"You are telling us in the most unvarnished manner that we are idiots," said Irais.
"Children and idiots are not interested in such things," I said.
American Idiot follows boyhood friends Johnny, Will and Tunny, each bored of their suburban lives and searching for meaning in a post 9/11 world.
"The show has the full entire American Idiot album, plus songs from other albums by Green Day.
Only idiots would tarnish our name THE FA have got the title of their new campaign spot on.
The country must show these idiots why they are so stupid by giving them 10 years in prison for even carrying a knife and then life for using the weapon, never to be free.
So get along if you can and leave feelings of expectancy and bigotry to the real American Idiots of Washington instead.