[ mawr-on ]
/ ˈmɔr ɒn /


Informal. a person who is notably stupid or lacking in good judgment: I wonder why they elected that narrow-minded moron to Congress.
Psychology. (no longer in technical use; now considered offensive) a person of borderline intelligence in a former and discarded classification of mental retardation, having an intelligence quotient of 50 to 69.



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Origin of moron

An Americanism first recorded in 1905–10; from Greek mōrón, neuter of mōrós “foolish, dull”


mo·ron·ic [muh-ron-ik], /məˈrɒn ɪk/, adjectivemo·ron·ism, mo·ron·i·ty [muh-ron-i-tee], /məˈrɒn ɪ ti/, noun

Definition for moron (2 of 2)

[ maw-rohn; Spanish maw-rawn ]
/ mɔˈroʊn; Spanish mɔˈrɔn /


a city in E Argentina, SW of Buenos Aires. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020


More context on moron

Calling someone a moron is all in good fun, right? Not so much. While moron can sound like a simple schoolyard taunt, the term was originally used by psychologists to classify someone as having mild intellectual disabilities. What’s more, prominent psychologists, notably Henry H. Goddard, who used the label moron promoted eugenics.

Moron is no longer in use as a medical term, and it’s offensive and ableist to equate someone you think is acting foolish to a person with a disability.

If knowing the history of moron has got you reflecting on your word choices, this slideshow, “These Common Words Have Offensive Histories,” discusses many other words whose place in your vocab you may want to reconsider. 

Keep in mind …

Like moron, the words idiot, imbecile, and feeble-minded were also once used in psychology to label people with intellectual disabilities or mental deficiencies.

Now, we’re not condoning any name-calling, but we’re also not naive—we know it happens! But, we can at least alert to the fact there are plenty of alternatives to moron that don’t come with so much painful baggage:

For more synonyms, find fool on

Example sentences from the Web for moron

British Dictionary definitions for moron

/ (ˈmɔːrɒn) /


a foolish or stupid person
a person having an intelligence quotient of between 50 and 70, able to work under supervision

Derived forms of moron

moronic (mɒˈrɒnɪk), adjectivemoronically, adverbmoronism or moronity, noun

Word Origin for moron

C20: from Greek mōros foolish
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

Medical definitions for moron

[ môrŏn′ ]


A person of mild mental retardation having a mental age of from 7 to 12 years and generally having communication and social skills enabling some degree of academic or vocational education. The term belongs to a classification system no longer in use and is now considered offensive.

Other words from moron

mo•ronic (mə-rŏnĭk, mô-) adj.moron′ism null n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.