The word is sometimes used alone in a semi-exclamatory way, especially when someone has just said something foolish. It is also frequent as ‘you idiot’ and in expanded forms. Thus, an uncle addresses his nephew in Mariana, by Monica Dickens, as ‘you silly young idiot’, though this is more in sorrow than in anger. One cannot imagine the term being used to someone who was really an idiot, someone permanently deficient in mental and intellectual terms. In the novels of Edna O’Brien about life in Ireland, ‘you eejit’, ‘blithering eejit’, etc., occur regularly. Connected with such dialectal pronunciation of the word is ‘nidget’ (nigit, nigid, niget, nigget, etc), found in literature in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. ‘Nidget’ had the same meaning as ‘idiot’ and arose by transfer of the 12 from the indefinite article - ‘an idget’ becoming ‘a nidget’.
   In modem times ‘idiot’ is usually used lightly, with a meaning similar to clown. It can be an endearment rather than an insult when said by lovers. ‘You bloody idiot’ is undoubtedly more offensive, and it can be used with venom in other forms, as shown by ‘you creeping idiot’ in Scenes of Clerical Life, by George Eliot. In that instance it is used with contempt by a woman who despises the slow movement of her husband. Its affectionate use is shown in, e.g., The Business of Loving, by Godfrey Smith: ‘“What do you think of my Tropical Sin?”’ “Your whaf?” “The scent you gave me, you idiot.”’

A dictionary of epithets and terms of address . . 2015.

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  • idiot — idiot, idiote [ idjo, idjɔt ] adj. et n. • idiote « ignorant » 1180; lat. idiôtes « sot », gr. idiotês « simple particulier », d où « étranger à un métier, ignorant » I ♦ Adj. 1 ♦ (1660) Qui manque d intelligence, de bon sens. ⇒ bête, imbécile,… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • idiot — IDIÓT, OÁTĂ, idioţi, oate, adj., s.m. şi f. 1. adj., s.m. şi f. (Persoană) care suferă de idioţie; tâmpit, cretin, imbecil. 2. adj. (Despre manifestări ale fiinţelor) Care manifestă, care exprimă, care denotă nerozie, stupiditate etc. [pr.: di… …   Dicționar Român

  • idiot — idiot, ote (i di o, o t ) adj. 1°   Dépourvu d intelligence. •   Ils rejetèrent cette friponnerie sur Ésope, ne croyant pas qu il se pût jamais justifier, tant il était bègue et paraissait idiot !, LA FONT. Vie d Ésope.. •   Ce n est point du… …   Dictionnaire de la Langue Française d'Émile Littré

  • Idiot — Sm std. (16. Jh.) Entlehnung. Entlehnt aus l. idiōta, idiōtēs der Ungebildete, Laie, Stümper , dieses aus gr. idiṓtēs (dass., eigentlich: die Einzelperson im Gegensatz zum Staat, der Nichtkenner im Gegensatz zum Sachverständigen ), zu gr. ídios… …   Etymologisches Wörterbuch der deutschen sprache

  • Idiot — Id i*ot ([i^]d [i^]*[o^]t), n. [F. idiot, L. idiota an uneducated, ignorant, ill informed person, Gr. idiw ths, also and orig., a private person, not holding public office, fr. i dios proper, peculiar. See {Idiom}.] 1. A man in private station,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • idiot — (n.) early 14c., person so mentally deficient as to be incapable of ordinary reasoning; also in Middle English simple man, uneducated person, layman (late 14c.), from O.Fr. idiote uneducated or ignorant person (12c.), from L. idiota ordinary… …   Etymology dictionary

  • idiot — IDIOT, [idi]ote. s. Ignorant, stupide, imbecille. C est un idiot, un pauvre idiot. le prenez vous, le voulez vous faire passer pour un idiot, pour idiot? elle n est pas si idiote que vous pensez …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie française

  • idiot — idìot (idiȍt) m DEFINICIJA 1. pat. onaj koji boluje od idiotije 2. razg. glupan, neinteligentna osoba, blesan SINTAGMA idiot kamera žarg. vrsta jednostavnih fotoaparata koje prije snimanja nije potrebno posebno podešavati ETIMOLOGIJA lat. idiōta… …   Hrvatski jezični portal

  • Idiot — [Aufbauwortschatz (Rating 1500 3200)] Auch: • Narr • Niete Bsp.: • Sei kein Narr! • Shane, du bist ein Idiot. • Der Idiot weigerte sich, mich zu bezahlen! …   Deutsch Wörterbuch

  • idiot — id·i·ot / i dē ət/ n: a person with esp. profound mental retardation ◇ While the terms idiot imbecile, and moron survive in many state codes and statutes, they are generally no longer used in both medical and legal contexts. The modern… …   Law dictionary

  • Idiot — Idiot,der:1.⇨Schwachsinnige–2.⇨Dummkopf(2) Idiot 1.→Wahnsinniger 2.ugs.für:Dummkopf,Schwachkopf,Ignorant,Hohlkopf,Nichtskönner,Nichtswisser,Stümper,Tölpel,Kretin,Narr,Hanswurst,Tropf,Tor;ugs.:Dummerjan,Flachkopf,Spatzengehirn,Wasserkopf,Holzkopf,N… …   Das Wörterbuch der Synonyme

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