[ id-ee-uht ]
See synonyms for idiot on
  1. Informal. an utterly foolish or senseless person: If you think you can wear that outfit to a job interview and get hired, you're an idiot!

  2. Psychology. (no longer in technical use; considered offensive) a person of the lowest order in a former and discarded classification of intellectual disability, having a mental age of less than three years old and an intelligence quotient under 25.

Origin of idiot

First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English, from Latin idiōta, from Greek idiṓtēs “private person, layman, person lacking skill or expertise,” equivalent to idiō- (lengthened variant of idio- idio-, perhaps by analogy with stratiōtēs “professional soldier,” derivative of stratiá “army”) + -tēs agent noun suffix

Other words for idiot

Other words from idiot

  • id·i·ot·ic [id-ee-ot-ik], /ˌɪd iˈɒt ɪk/, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use idiot in a sentence

  • She Said: The latest addition to the “Men are Idiots” TV anthology features men raising babies.

    TV Preview: Snap Judgments of 2012-13’s New Shows | Jace Lacob, Maria Elena Fernandez | June 12, 2012 | THE DAILY BEAST
  • Idiots blush seldom, blind people and hereditary albinos, a great deal.

    Criminal Psychology | Hans Gross
  • Idiots and imbeciles have largely disappeared from country villages and small towns.

    London's Underworld | Thomas Holmes
  • Idiots who went so far as to claim the whole city would be destroyed, just to make people do as they said.

    Deadly City | Paul W. Fairman
  • Idiots, you will say, my dear sir or madame, to pick up this quarrel on such foolish grounds!

    Mated from the Morgue | John Augustus O'Shea

British Dictionary definitions for idiot


/ (ˈɪdɪət) /

  1. a person with severe mental retardation

  2. a foolish or senseless person

Origin of idiot

C13: from Latin idiōta ignorant person, from Greek idiōtēs private person, one who lacks professional knowledge, ignoramus; see idio-

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