Meaning of cretin

cretin




The English language has no shortage of cruel names for people, and one of them is cretin, which is what you’d call someone who is very, very dumb in the head.

Back before cretin meant “a stupid person,” it was a medical term for a physical deformity that came from a specific disease. Surprisingly, the root of cretin is the Swiss French word crestin, which means “Christian.” It seems that people back then wanted to remind themselves that even though cretins look unusual, they’re still humans who deserve kindness. Knowing this makes it hard to use cretin in a mean way, but there are plenty more rude words you could use.

Definitions of cretin
  1. noun

    a person of subnormal intelligence

    synonyms:

    changeling, half-wit, idiot, imbecile, moron, retard

    see moresee less

    types:

    mongoloid

    a person suffering from Down syndrome (no longer used technically in this sense)
    type of:

    simple, simpleton

    a person lacking intelligence or common sense

Word Family

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