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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.

A Law Dictionary, Adapted to the Constitution and Laws of the United States. By John Bouvier. Published 1856.
References in periodicals archive ?
In the formal language of the piece, the Idiot Savant is charged with saving humanity from "magic words," including the ones lurking behind numbered doors that deliver powerful shocks if mistakenly chosen.
Case history of a so-called idiot savant. Journal of Genetic Psychology, 66, 259-265.
It certainly isn't on earth, where Kaita Kabanova falls into the hands of someone worse than an idiot savant: a savant idiot, who surely knows better, yet deliberately takes inane liberties.
Sacks outdoes such fictional contrivances, however, when he recreates the inner world of an idiot savant who sees ordinary objects as numbers or that of an alcoholic, suffering from a complete inability to remember, who lives in a hellish, endless present.
In Extraordinary People: Understanding the Idiot Savant (Harper and Row, $17.95) Treffert explains the possible causes behind this strange contradiction between deficiency and superiority.
The book sees Welsh back on home turf with one of his most popular characters, "Juice" Terry Lawson, in a story about a missing beauty and her "idiot savant" lover.
Ben Muriel has been joined in Folk Daddy by Laura Currie, one of the singing stars of the Idiot Savant annual Christmas pageant.
I had worked with the Wooster Group, and I had also worked with Richard Foreman [in Idiot Savant in 2009].
Aiding on forays into the trees was a loaner pair of Worcester ski maker Mark Rocheford's prototype "Idiot Savant" skis - short, wide boards with snub noses and stiff pintails that are perfectly adapted for woods skiing.
The New Theatre in Cardiff has announced its autumn/winter programme and on the slate are productions of Rain Man (September 29-October 3), in which Morrissey will play the role of idiot savant Raymond Babbit alongside Oliver Chris in the Tom Cruise shades, and a stage adaptation of prison comedy Porridge (November 3-7).
ANSWERS QUIZ OF THE DAY: 1 "Daddy" Warbucks; 2 Nirvana; 3 John Adams; 4 Brazil; 5 Idiot Savant (knowledgeable idiot); 6 New York; 7 Six; 8 Baywatch; 9 A bird; 10 Dame Nellie Melba.
Demme, who was born in 1944 (in between George Harrison and Keith Moon), was a sort of idiot savant music-video genius, who in 1984 made the best ever rock concert movie, Talking Heads' "Stop Making Sense." His 1986 masterpiece "Something Wild" incorporated the nascent "world music" trend delightfully.