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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 ?
WHEN I was young I remember in, I think the Beano, a cartoon strip called The Numbskulls.
After Britain's top agents are all assassinated in a daring terrorist attack, numbskull MI6 agent Johnny English (Rowan Atkinson) is assigned a vital mission to guard the recently restored Crown Jewels.
Finally the band rounded the gig off the way they started - rocking out with Numbskull - and with that Ash disappeared from view, but not before hinting at a tour next year.
Mr Chope, you are an ignorant numbskull, who, having been born with a silver spoon in your mouth and never having to worry about money, does not have a clue about the real world.
Meanwhile, torn between two morons, numbskull Nick flitted from Jade to a topless girl named Harry like a sex-starved adolescent.
Even the numbskull Tories must understand that is the economics of the madhouse.
Ignoring the taunts of his numbskull older brother, Rex (Marsden) - "You're 18 and you've never had a girlfriend.
The numbskull is more likely to have the albums of Bruce Springsteen,Dire Straits and,possibly, Bon Jovi in his dreary collection.
It's worrying, though, when any numbskull can log onto a website and make scandalous accusations that other people can read.
His dim sidekicks, Portcullis (Rowan Talbot) and Numbskull (Charles Baker), provide some great knockabout humour, and Numbskull in particular reveals a more rounded character with his unrequited love for Maid Marian.
The star of the movie Numbskull (15) is Paul Murphy, former leader of the 15-strong group The Destroyers.