[kreet-n or, esp. British, kret-n]


a person suffering from cretinism.
a stupid, obtuse, or mentally defective person.

Origin of cretin

1770–80; < French; Franco-Provençal creitin, crestin human being, literally, Christian (hence one who is human despite deformities)
Related formscre·ti·noid, adjectivecre·tin·ous, adjectivesem·i·cre·tin, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for cretinous

Contemporary Examples of cretinous

  • Both films quite seriously question and call out the cretinous conception of "black masculinity" pushed in the idiom.

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Hip Hop Inauguration

    Stanley Crouch

    December 19, 2008

  • One editor at National Review—a friend of 30 years—emailed me that he thought my opinions “cretinous.”

    The Daily Beast logo
    Buckley Bows Out of National Review

    Christopher Buckley

    October 14, 2008

Historical Examples of cretinous

British Dictionary definitions for cretinous



old-fashioned a person afflicted with cretinism
offensive a person considered to be extremely stupid
Derived Formscretinoid, adjectivecretinous, adjective

Word Origin for cretin

C18: from French crétin, from Swiss French crestin, from Latin Chrīstiānus Christian, alluding to the humanity of such people, despite their handicaps
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for cretinous



1779, from French crétin (18c.), from Alpine dialect crestin, "a dwarfed and deformed idiot" of a type formerly found in families in the Alpine lands, a condition caused by a congenital deficiency of thyroid hormones, from Vulgar Latin *christianus "a Christian," a generic term for "anyone," but often with a sense of "poor fellow." Related: Cretinism (1801).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

cretinous in Medicine




A person afflicted with cretinism.
Related formscretin•oid′ (-oid′) adj.cretin•ous (-əs) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.