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Half-witted   Listen
adjective
Half-witted  adj.  Weak in intellect; silly.






Collaborative International Dictionary of English 0.48








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"Half-witted" Quotes from Famous Books



... Widow Stokes' half-witted son rode up from the Extract Works on an old bony horse. He brought word that the enemy was at the Kibbard Mill, two miles beyond the Works. People were throwing their furniture into the mill pond, he said. Every one laughed. Mottie Stokes was always telling big stories. The boy, ...
— The Best Short Stories of 1920 - and the Yearbook of the American Short Story • Various

... other boy near-by was Billy Butler, a poor, half-witted idiot, who lived with his family in a tiny cottage under the side of a hill. Master Sunshine was very pitiful of Billy's sad lot, and many an apple and slice of bread ...
— Master Sunshine • Mrs. C. F. Fraser

... Louis to gain the Spanish or Belgian Netherlands. It will be remembered that in accordance with the peace of the Pyrenees, Louis had married Maria Theresa, the eldest daughter of Philip IV of Spain. Now by a subsequent marriage Philip IV had had a son, a weak-bodied, half-witted prince, who came to the throne in 1665 as Charles II. Louis XIV at once took advantage of this turn of affairs to assert in behalf of his wife a claim to a portion of the Spanish inheritance. The claim was based on a curious custom which had prevailed in the ...
— A Political and Social History of Modern Europe V.1. • Carlton J. H. Hayes

... dates from 1811, and was applied first to frame-breakers, and then to the disaffected in general. It was derived from a half-witted lad named Ned Lud, who entered a house in a fit of passion, and destroyed a couple of stocking-frames. The song was an impromptu, enclosed in a letter to Moore of December 24, 1816. "I have written it principally," he says, "to shock your neighbour [Hodgson?] ...
— The Works of Lord Byron, Vol. 7. - Poetry • George Gordon Byron

... you've clapped Peak halliard blocks, all iron-capped. I would not christen that a crime, But 'twas not done in RODNEY'S time. It looks half-witted! Upon your maintop-stay, I see, You always clap a selvagee! Your stays, I see, are equalized— No vessel, such as RODNEY prized, ...
— More Bab Ballads • W. S. Gilbert

... were married, Burton Jerrold and Geraldine Grey, and there was a grand wedding, at Grey's Park, and the supper was served on the lawn, where there was a dance, and music, and fireworks in the evening; and Sam Lawton, a half-witted fellow, went up in a balloon, and came down on a pile of rocks on the Jerrold farm, and broke his leg; and people were there from Boston, and Worcester, and Springfield, and New York, but very few from Allington, for the reason that very ...
— Bessie's Fortune - A Novel • Mary J. Holmes

... after having once preyed upon human flesh, the reader, who has once gratified his appetite with calumny, makes, ever after, the most agreeable feast upon murdered reputation. Such readers generally admire some half-witted thing, who wants to be thought a bold man, having lost the character of a wise one. Him they dignify with the name of poet; his tawdry lampoons are called satires, his turbulence is said to be force, and ...
— The Complete Poetical Works of Oliver Goldsmith • Oliver Goldsmith

... half-witted boy Asa Hall—their faces seemed to stare at me out of the blackness. They must be dead! Why, I had seen Kennedy fall, the heedless feet crunching his face, and Asa Hall tossed into the air and shot at as he fell. Eloise! Eloise! I covered my eyes with the free ...
— The Devil's Own - A Romance of the Black Hawk War • Randall Parrish

... it!" said the lord. "He is a kind, of half-witted mischief-maker, who does not know what he wants, and gets in ...
— An Obscure Apostle - A Dramatic Story • Eliza Orzeszko

... with the far-famed wickedness of another slave-holder, known all over the island as "Old Joe Eddings." There seem to have been no bounds to his cruelty and licentiousness; and the people tell tales of him which make one shudder. We were once asking some questions about him of an old, half-witted woman, a former slave of his. The look of horror and loathing which overspread her face was perfectly indescribable, as, with upraised hands, she exclaimed, "What! Old Joe Eddings? Lord, Missus, he second to ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 13, No. 80, June, 1864 • Various

... letters to Isabella are full of the practical jokes and witty dialogues and repartees with which he and Messer Galeazzo amused the duchess. The following letter affords a characteristic specimen of the kind of fooling which these great Renaissance lords and ladies carried on at the expense of the half-witted jesters and buffoons who were ...
— Beatrice d'Este, Duchess of Milan, 1475-1497 • Julia Mary Cartwright

... easier to bear by the arrival, just a fatal fortnight late, of the money from his brother, a forgetful sort of man, who had mistaken the date of the mail. The tragic irony of the whole is skilfully heightened by the fact that it is half-witted "Clutie," with his penny whistle and his random words, who goads young Andrew to ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 158, March 3rd, 1920 • Various

... helplessness and silliness, indicating, not his real character, but a cunning developed by his constant dread of a hostile dominance, which he habitually tries to disarm and tempt into unmasking by pretending to be a much greater fool than he really is. Englishmen think him half-witted, which is exactly what he intends them to think. He is clad in corduroy trousers, unbuttoned waistcoat, and ...
— John Bull's Other Island • George Bernard Shaw

... coroner so before she fell to the floor in an epileptic fit. When she came to herself she was sullen and silent, and nothing more could be extracted from her. The old man, the innkeeper, explained that the girl was half-witted, but he did not attempt to deny that the house had the reputation of being haunted, and said that he had himself begged Wentworth not to put up there. Well, that is about the whole of the story. The coroner's inquest ...
— A Master of Mysteries • L. T. Meade

... self-conceit smiling at me exactly as it had smiled at Ariel. "I excel in dramatic narrative, Mrs. Valeria," he said. "And this creature here on the stool is a remarkable proof of it. She is quite a psychological study when I tell her one of my stories. It is really amusing to see the half-witted wretch's desperate efforts to understand me. You shall have a specimen. I have been out of spirits while you were away—I haven't told her a story for weeks past; I will tell her one now. Don't suppose it's any effort to me! My invention ...
— The Law and the Lady • Wilkie Collins

... me last night I wasn't over half-witted. SUSIE—I shouldn't feel badly about that; she never did know anything ...
— The New Pun Book • Thomas A. Brown and Thomas Joseph Carey

... have been Witless Sue," said Aunt Jessica, late that afternoon, when Elliott told her the story. "She is a half-witted old soul who wanders about digging herbs in summer and lives on the town farm in winter. There's no harm ...
— The Camerons of Highboro • Beth B. Gilchrist

... It may be so, to such as you who know no righteousness, and no appointment except Satan's. Laugh; but I will be known as I know myself, and as Flintwinch knows me, though it is only to you and this half-witted woman.' ...
— Little Dorrit • Charles Dickens

... besides that, since everyone must have personal hopes, Princess Mary in the profoundest depths of her heart had a hidden dream and hope that supplied the chief consolation of her life. This comforting dream and hope were given her by God's folk—the half-witted and other pilgrims who visited her without the prince's knowledge. The longer she lived, the more experience and observation she had of life, the greater was her wonder at the short-sightedness of men who seek enjoyment and happiness here ...
— War and Peace • Leo Tolstoy

... meditations, which followed them out again without let or hindrance, and they were really all that was dangerous. As they could not reach me, they had resolved to punish my body; just as boys, if they cannot come at some person against whom they have a spite, will abuse his dog. I saw that the State was half-witted, that it was timid as a lone woman with her silver spoons, and that it did not know its friends from its foes, and I lost all my remaining respect for it, and ...
— On the Duty of Civil Disobedience • Henry David Thoreau

... it; and yet I cannot remember any hasty, harsh, or impatient word to have fallen from his lips. On the contrary, he ever showed himself careful to please; and even if he rambled in his talk, rambled always gently—like a humane, half-witted old hero, true to his colours to the last. I would not dare to say how often he awoke suddenly from a lethargy, and told us again, as though we had never heard it, the story of how he had earned the Cross, how it had been given him by the hand of the Emperor, ...
— The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition Vol. 20 (of 25) • Robert Louis Stevenson

... Edison or a Bessemer may have produced whatever income has come to him in his latest years from the inventive efforts of his earliest; but if such a man has a son to whom this income descends—a half-witted degenerate who squanders it on wine and women, who will not work with his hands and who cannot work with his head—no one can pretend that, in any sense of the word, a fool like this produces any fraction of the thousands that he ...
— A Critical Examination of Socialism • William Hurrell Mallock

... This was a half-witted lad, of very small stature, who had a kind of charge of the poultry under the old henwife; for in a Scottish family of that day there was a wonderful substitution of labour. This urchin being sent for from the stubble-field, was hastily muffled in the buff coat, and girded rather to than with the ...
— Old Mortality, Complete, Illustrated • Sir Walter Scott

... from Gudruda's side. Meanwhile, I will do this: In the north there dwells a man mighty in all things and blown up with pride. He is named Ospakar Blacktooth. His wife is but lately dead, and he has given out that he will wed the fairest maid in Iceland. Now, it is in my mind to send Koll the Half-witted, my thrall, whom Asmund gave to me, to Ospakar as though by chance. He is a great talker and very clever, for in his half-wits is more cunning than in the brains of most; and he shall so bepraise Gudruda's beauty that Ospakar ...
— Eric Brighteyes • H. Rider Haggard

... think for herself. This tyranny and humility served her in place of education and formed her manners, which were wonderfully gentle and calm. It was strange to see such a person growing up in such a family, and the neighbours spoke of her with much scornful compassion. "A poor half-witted, thing," they said, "who could not say bo! to a goose." And I think it is one good test of gentility to be thus looked down on by ...
— Boys and girls from Thackeray • Kate Dickinson Sweetser

... up the kittens, beginning with the white one. "This is the idiot," she said, "but isn't it a pretty cat? You can see she's half-witted, 'cause only one eye is open, and she has such a general air ...
— Patty Fairfield • Carolyn Wells

... the Chief. His tone was a little bit harsh. Mike was a midget. And there were women who were fools. It would be unbearable if some half-witted female had written Mike the sort of gushing letter that some half-witted ...
— Space Tug • Murray Leinster

... Bagdad, a half-witted fellow, who was much addicted to the use of bang. Being reduced to poverty, he was obliged to sell his stock. One day he went to the market to dispose of a cow; but the animal being in bad order, no one ...
— The Arabian Nights Entertainments vol. 4 • Anon.

... between two such highly respected controversialists, on a topic of religious practice, only gave too much occasion to the scoffer. Indeed, Johnnie Favor, the Episcopal sexton's helper, one of those persons, reputed half-witted, who sometimes make very apposite remarks, observed,—"Well—Christmas here, or Christmas there, I'm not so narrer-contracted as to like to see the surplices of two such good men as your Doctor and my ...
— Old New England Traits • Anonymous

... a poor half-witted creature, who was one of the first in the town to lose a child," the door-porter replied; "and the shock of ...
— Werwolves • Elliott O'Donnell

... of business? He is a fool," cried Veitel, unable to conceal his annoyance. "If you were to put an old parchment covered with manuscript before him, he would give you any mortgage you liked for it; he is half-witted." ...
— Debit and Credit - Translated from the German of Gustav Freytag • Gustav Freytag

... works; or I will brave every danger the narrow earth holds, by sea and land, for you. What? Am I decrepit, or bent, or misshapen, that my white hair should cry out against me? Am I hideous, or doting, or half-witted, as old men are? I am young; I am strong, active, enduring. I have all ...
— A Roman Singer • F. Marion Crawford

... known at all. "Oh, great gain! Oh, unexpected felicity! I intreat you, my Poggio, send me the manuscript as soon as possible, that I may see it before I die!" exclaims Aretino, in a letter overflowing with enthusiasm, on Poggio's discovery of a copy of Quintilian. Some of the half-witted, who joined in this great hunt, were often thrown out, and some paid high for manuscripts not authentic; the knave played on the bungling amateur of manuscripts, whose credulity exceeded his purse. But ...
— Curiosities of Literature, Vol. 1 (of 3) • Isaac D'Israeli

... not the least, the wonderful influence and control which Antonio had always maintained over his half-witted "left hand," as the ...
— Jessica, the Heiress • Evelyn Raymond

... she said pleasantly enough—though, of course, the term had no accent whatever of affection—"this half-witted brother of mine once in a while stumbles upon the most brilliant inspiration imaginable. I'm sure he has seen enough of you in this last hour to be making no mistake in offering you as one answer to a very delicate question which has been ...
— Nobody • Louis Joseph Vance

... And the half-witted creature gave a touching glance at Rudy, folded his hands and said piously and solemnly: "Jesus Christ! Saperli wishes to send him a letter, praying him to let Saperli lie dead and not the man ...
— The Ice-Maiden: and Other Tales. • Hans Christian Andersen

... petty jealousies and envies had fallen away, for a period, from all us women gathered there that day, and the touch of our joined hands inspired and thrilled. Not far in front of me in the line of march there was a poor, old, half-witted woman, who became the target of gibes and jeers; I felt fierce protection of her. Behind me were dozens of others who were smiled or laughed at by ridiculing spectators; I felt protection of ...
— The Fifth Wheel - A Novel • Olive Higgins Prouty

... tendency to law-breaking, which by immature minds is often held to be a sign of virility. The Italian novelist and poet Manzoni describes this idea very well in his Promessi Sposi, when speaking of the half-witted lad Gervaso, who "because he had taken part in a plot savouring of crime, felt that he had suddenly become ...
— Criminal Man - According to the Classification of Cesare Lombroso • Gina Lombroso-Ferrero

... he went. After numerous changes I came across an excellent syce to look after them. He was a wild, unkempt figure, with a long black beard—a dervish by profession, and certainly gave no one any reason to believe that he was more than half-witted. Indeed, almost all dervishes are in a greater or less degree insane; it is probably due to that that they have become dervishes, for the native regards the insane as under the protection of God. Dervishes go around practically naked, usually wearing only a few skins ...
— War in the Garden of Eden • Kermit Roosevelt

... half-witted people thought he swore false, I suppose because they imagined that what he told implied that Julian Cox was turned into an hare. Which she was not, nor did his report imply any such real metamorphosis of her body, but that these ludicrous daemons exhibited to the sight of ...
— Discovery of Witches - The Wonderfull Discoverie of Witches in the Countie of Lancaster • Thomas Potts

... the country poorhouse, midst surroundings often vulgar, profane and brutal. One day two sweet babes, unnamed and unwelcomed, lay in the garret of a county-house in the outskirts of London. Then a poor, half-witted spinster, hearing of the young mother's death, found her way to the garret, brooded o'er the babes with all the dignity of our Mother of Sorrows, took the babes to her heart and planned how, with six shillings a week, she might keep ...
— The Investment of Influence - A Study of Social Sympathy and Service • Newell Dwight Hillis

... and a good husband he reckoned worthy of more praise than a great senator; and he admired the ancient Socrates for nothing so much as for having lived a temperate and contented life with a wife who was a scold, and children who were half-witted. ...
— Plutarch's Lives • A.H. Clough

... say what the Mission could do for them. I think I have never seen a more forlorn sight than this group presented when they stepped from the steamer. There was the father (the mother is dead), an elderly half-witted cripple capable neither of caring for himself nor for his children, four boys of varying sizes, and a girl of fourteen in the last stages of tuberculosis. The family were nearly frozen, half-starved, and completely dazed at the hopelessness of their situation. The girl was ...
— Le Petit Nord - or, Annals of a Labrador Harbour • Anne Elizabeth Caldwell (MacClanahan) Grenfell and Katie Spalding

... keen perceptions, of conveniently short memory, and had the capacity for giving a lie all the virtuous appearance of truth and frankness. Goodale had no family, and, as far as possible, served his guests himself. A half-breed cooked for him; a half-witted French-Canadian girl did unimportant tasks about the bedchambers, but the host himself took his patrons into his own safekeeping and their ...
— The Place Beyond the Winds • Harriet T. Comstock

... was a half-witted lad, who, not knowing what he did, joined the Gordon rioters—the scenes are laid in the "No Popery" times of 1779—because he was permitted to carry a flag and to wear a blue ribbon. The history of that exciting period of English semi-political, ...
— Library of the World's Best Literature, Ancient and Modern — Volume 11 • Various

... which the indulgence of temperaments like that of S. Catherine must in many cases have given rise, are obvious. Hysterical women and half-witted men, without possessing her abilities and understanding her objects, beheld unmeaning visions, and dreamed childish dreams. Others won the reputation of sanctity by obstinate neglect of all the duties ...
— Sketches and Studies in Italy and Greece, Complete - Series I, II, and III • John Symonds

... passion, an entire devotion to any object, always succeeds. The strong sympathy with what we wish and imagine realises it, dissipates all obstacles, and removes all scruples. The disappointed lover may complain as much as he pleases. He was himself to blame. He was a half-witted, wishy-washy fellow. His love might be as great as he makes it out; but it was not his ruling passion. His fear, his pride, his vanity was greater. Let any one's whole soul be steeped in this passion; let him ...
— Table-Talk - Essays on Men and Manners • William Hazlitt

... after a fashion more endurable to ducks than to human bipeds. Martin Poyser had some faint conception of the flavour such men must find in hot roast beef and fresh-drawn ale. He held his head on one side, and screwed up his mouth, as he nudged Bartle Massey, and watched half-witted Tom Tholer, otherwise known as "Tom Saft," receiving his second plateful of beef. A grin of delight broke over Tom's face as the plate was set down before him, between his knife and fork, which he held erect, as if they had been sacred tapers; ...
— Good Cheer Stories Every Child Should Know • Various

... farm as servant, and come back a month ago, ruined, the victim of an outrage over which Elsmere had ground his teeth in fierce and helpless anger. Catherine had found her a shelter, and was to see her through her 'trouble'; the girl, a frail half-witted creature, who could find no words even to bewail herself, clinging to her the while with the ...
— Robert Elsmere • Mrs. Humphry Ward

... between him and his friend. Battersleigh would have lived till autumn in his tent, but Franklin saw that the need of a house was immediate. He took counsel of Curly, the cowboy, who proved guardian and benefactor. Curly forthwith produced a workman, a giant Mexican, a half-witted mozo, who had followed the cow bands from the far Southwest, and who had hung about Curly's own place as a sort of menial, bound to do unquestioningly whatever Curly bade. This curious being, a very colossus of strength, was found to be possessed of a ...
— The Girl at the Halfway House • Emerson Hough

... notice of the first-class passengers staring down superciliously or pityingly at their poor amusements; they were far too much absorbed in the dancing which was going on busily—I can't say gaily—in the two hollow squares. In one of these an elderly, pinched little man who looked almost half-witted, was monotonously scraping a battered fiddle, for two solemn couples to dance round and round, always on the same axis. But the other "dancing salon" was more lively. There a man dressed like a buffoon, ...
— Lady Betty Across the Water • Charles Norris Williamson and Alice Muriel Williamson

... This worthy was a half-witted Sage (like the Iourodivi of Russia and the Irish Omadhaun), who occupies his own place in contemporary histories flourished under Harun al-Rashid and still is famous in Persian Story. When the Caliph ...
— Supplemental Nights, Volume 6 • Richard F. Burton

... highmen disappeared into the dark forest and came back soon, dragging a half-witted youth, named Ko'so, grinning and mumbling and content till the curved N'gombi knife, that his captor wielded, came "snack" to his neck and then ...
— Bones - Being Further Adventures in Mr. Commissioner Sanders' Country • Edgar Wallace

... saying about Freddie Vandam—that if only he had had a little more brains, he would have been half-witted. And Montague sat, and watched his mannerisms and listened to his inanities, with his mind in a state of bewilderment and dismay. When at last he got up and walked away, it was with a new sense of the complicated nature of the problem that confronted him. Who was there that could ...
— The Metropolis • Upton Sinclair

... class, but he was still spellin' out words in the Third; fractions was only a dream to him, and he couldn't 'a' told you the difference between a noun and a wild carrot. But through it all he'd been so humble and polite that Leander looked on him as a kind of half-witted lamb." ...
— The Soldier of the Valley • Nelson Lloyd

... "A poor half-witted fellow, possibly," replied my fellow-traveller. "In your travels through the country, however, Mr. Florence, you must have often met ...
— Railway Adventures and Anecdotes - extending over more than fifty years • Various

... though I could not hear what the members said, I heard the leader, who made some very appropriate remarks. When addressing me, he related an anecdote of Rowland Hill, who, going to preach at a village, was requested to visit a good, but poor half-witted man. He went accordingly, and accosted poor Richard with the question, 'Do you intend to go to heaven?' 'Yes,' he replied, 'don't you?' 'But heaven is a long way off,' said Mr. Hill. 'I don't think so,' was the reply. 'Then what do you ...
— Religion in Earnest - A Memorial of Mrs. Mary Lyth, of York • John Lyth

... retired farmer of Cuyahoga, Ohio, has foretold that the war will end in October. People are flocking into Midgeville in lumber wagons from all parts of the country. Jones, who bases his prophecy on the Bible, had hitherto been thought to be half-witted. This is now recognised to have been a wrong estimate of his powers. Business in Midgeville ...
— The Hohenzollerns in America - With the Bolsheviks in Berlin and other impossibilities • Stephen Leacock

... him seriously, and they say that the fright made him half-witted for the rest of his life. Still, he recovered sufficiently to tell others of what he had seen, and to explain the mystery of the miraculous speed with which Buckland Abbey's outbuildings ...
— Legend Land, Volume 2 • Various

... a certain gathering of the brethren at Denver, had brought this news: That Bernal Linford had been last seen walking south from Denver, like a common tramp, in the company of a poor half-witted creature who had aroused some local excitement by declaring himself to be the son of God, speaking familiarly ...
— The Seeker • Harry Leon Wilson

... what I want, as well you knows, you young limb. Your pedlar's license—your license to sell things. You ain't half so half-witted as you want ...
— New Treasure Seekers - or, The Bastable Children in Search of a Fortune • E. (Edith) Nesbit

... generally known as Cap'n 'Kiah, an octogenarian who was regarded as an oracle, down to Tready Morgan, a half-witted orphan, the inmates of the poor-house had an enjoyment of living astonishing to behold. It had been hinted at town-meeting that the keeper of the poor-farm was a "leetle mite too generous and easy-going," ...
— Lippincott's Magazine, October 1885 • Various

... Where was Mart? Tobey had seen him. Perhaps they had fought. Her mind refused to go further. But little subtle undercurrents pressed in on her. Tobey hated and feared his father. And Mart was always enraged at the sight of his half-witted son. What had happened? And yet no matter what had occurred, Tobey had not been on the hill. His shoes bore mute testimony to that. And the scream had been on the slope. ...
— The Best Short Stories of 1920 - and the Yearbook of the American Short Story • Various

... with its little black recess, the palace of the Stuarts closes in the narrow end of the square of the Santissimi Apostoli. And now, I cannot help seeing a certain strange appropriateness in the fact that the image of that mouthing and gesticulating half-witted creature should be connected in my mind with the house to which, with pomp of six-horse coaches and scarlet outriders, Charles Edward Stuart conducted ...
— The Countess of Albany • Violet Paget (AKA Vernon Lee)

... Book," p. 31. The latter of these jests is attributed by Dean Ramsay to a half-witted Ayrshire man, who said he "kenned a miller had aye a ...
— Heads and Tales • Various

... the Seer. Sir Hector Mackenzie, Bart. of Gairloch, was buck-toothed, and is to this day spoken of among the Gairloch tenantry as "An Tighearna storach," or the buck-toothed laird. Chisholm of Chisholm was hair-lipped, Grant of Grant half-witted, and Macleod of Raasay a stammerer. [For full details of this remarkable instance of family fate, see "The Prophecies of the Brahan Seer." - A. & ...
— History Of The Mackenzies • Alexander Mackenzie

... delivered by that youth behind, sent him bounding round with rage, like a fish in air. The marketplace resounded with a clapping of hands; for it was here that Checco came daily to eat figs, and it was known that the 'povero,' the dear half-witted creature, would not tolerate an intruder in the place where he stretched his limbs to peel and suck in the gummy morsels twice or thrice a day. Barto seized and shook him. Checco knocked off his hat; the bandage about the wound broke and dropped, and Barto put his hand to his forehead, ...
— The Shaving of Shagpat • George Meredith

... had passed in the world for a poor, simple, well-meaning, half-witted, crack-brained fellow. People were strangely surprised to find him in such a roguery—that he should disguise himself under a false name, hire himself out for a servant to an old gentlewoman, only ...
— The History of John Bull • John Arbuthnot

... The animal staggered over against the wall of men, trampling on somebody's feet. Somebody yelled and cursed vehemently, stepping on somebody else. A small-sized panic and melee ensued forthwith. More of the animals took alarm, and Algy was frightened half to death. His pony, a wall-eyed, half-witted brute, stampeded in the crowd. Then Algy ...
— The Furnace of Gold • Philip Verrill Mighels

... done in the heat of frenzied passion, and so the prisoner must go unpunished.' My learned friend argued not so, when he appeared in this place against the murder Wiley; poor, ignorant, and half-witted; who with his eyes starting from his head with starvation, entered a farmer's house, and in the extremity of his suffering demanded bread. And on being told by the woman of the house to take himself off to the nearest tavern and get bread, ...
— Lewie - Or, The Bended Twig • Cousin Cicely

... the latter is the Hajar el-Kidr ("Potrock"), which every passing Arab either stones or strikes with his staff, hoping that the mysterious utensil will burst and shed its golden shower. Moreover, a half-witted Ma'azi, by name Masa'i, had tantalized us with a glorious account of the "House of 'Antar" in the Hisma, and the cistern where that negro hero and poet used to water his horses. Near its massive walls rises a Hazbah ...
— The Land of Midian, Vol. 1 • Richard Burton

... both so rich," he cried savagely, "that in two years you'd have drunk yourselves into a mad-house. And you couldn't trust me! You've filled this house with fakes and palm-readers. And, now, every one will know just what he is—a senile, half-witted old man who was clay in my hands, clay in my hands—and you've robbed me of him, you've robbed me of him!" His voice, broken with anger and disappointment, rose in an hysterical wail. As though to meet it a bell rang shrilly. ...
— Vera - The Medium • Richard Harding Davis

... a dale sooner be drawing up a marriage settlement between you and some pretty girl with five or six hundred pound fortune, than I'd be exposing to the counthry such a mane trick as this you're now afther, of seducing a poor half-witted ould maid, like Anty Lynch, into a ...
— The Kellys and the O'Kellys • Anthony Trollope

... It stood in a hollow, amid slopes of stony plough ridges, over which the old male paupers swarmed painfully with spades and shovels when spring advanced. When spring came, too, old pauper women and wretched, half-witted girls and children squatted like toads in the green fields outside the ploughed ones, digging greens in company with grazing cows, and looked up with unexpected flashes of human life when footsteps drew near. There was a thrifty Overseer in the poorhouse, ...
— Jerome, A Poor Man - A Novel • Mary E. Wilkins Freeman

... not speaking of half-witted persons, as I remember. Well, it chances that I am honored by the friendship of our gallant Bearnais, and am supposed to have some claim upon him, thanks to my good fortune last year in saving his life from the assassin Barriere. It chances that ...
— The Line of Love - Dizain des Mariages • James Branch Cabell

... an' prospectors came desperadoes, who intended to make their fortune at the gun's point, by shootin' straight! There was the Tombstone Terror, an' the Bad Man from Bodie, an' Sam Brown, the greatest bully o' them all. One night a half-witted feller asked him how many men he'd chopped. 'Ninety-nine,' says Sam, 'an' you're the hundredth.' He seizes him by the neck an' rips him to pieces wi' his bowie-knife. Then he lay down an' went to sleep on the billiard table, ...
— Murder Point - A Tale of Keewatin • Coningsby Dawson

... now set down the man as one of those keen, half-witted country fellows, contemptuously styled originals, who unintentionally make themselves popular by flattering the sense of sanity in those whose faculties are better adapted ...
— An Unsocial Socialist • George Bernard Shaw

... was one named Ralph Davidson, a half-witted young fellow who had served two apprenticeships without being able to qualify for the dignity of A.B., that is, he could not pass the necessary examination for admittance into the union. This poor creature was permitted to sail ...
— The Shellback's Progress - In the Nineteenth Century • Walter Runciman

... o' his that look's if they'd never blink 'f a cannon went off under his very nose—waited till Billings got good and done, 'n' then said with that high 'n' mighty air of his, f'r all the world's if he was speakin' to some poor, half-witted Swede: 'Two hundred dollars doesn't mean as much to me as you think, Mr. Billings.' Then he stopped a minute, 'n' went on in a little diff'rent tone, 'You needn't concern yourself any further about me and my troubles'—'n' that had very much the sound of 'I'll ...
— McClure's Magazine, Vol 31, No 2, June 1908 • Various

... any of their fellows intrude by chance into my present writings, I draw a stroke over all those Dalilah's of the theatre; and am resolved I will settle myself no reputation by the applause of fools. It is not that I am mortified to all ambition, but I scorn as much to take it from half-witted judges, as I should to raise an estate by cheating of bubbles. Neither do I discommend the lofty style in tragedy, which is naturally pompous and magnificent; but nothing is truly sublime, that is not just and proper. If the antients had judged by the same measure, which ...
— The Works of John Dryden, Vol. 6 (of 18) - Limberham; Oedipus; Troilus and Cressida; The Spanish Friar • John Dryden

... the Imperial Dynasty of America. Then in a kind and soothing murmur he ran over the important points with Vance, who stood like one stunned. His eyes were so blank and vacant that I imagined he had become half-witted, and remarked it to Mr. Wilde who replied that it was of no consequence anyway. Very patiently we pointed out to Vance what his share in the affair would be, and he seemed to understand after a while. Mr. Wilde explained the manuscript, using several volumes ...
— The King In Yellow • Robert W. Chambers

... Reuben. Reuben is a Baptist preacher now, but I fear as lazy as ever, though his cabin has three rooms; and little Ella has grown into a bouncing woman, and is ploughing corn on the hot hillside. There are babies a-plenty, and one half-witted girl. Across the valley is a house I did not know before, and there I found, rocking one baby and expecting another, one of my schoolgirls, a daughter of Uncle Bird Dowell. She looked somewhat worried with her new duties, but soon ...
— The Souls of Black Folk • W. E. B. Du Bois

... lived in it. Don't tell me. A farmer with five hundred acres of land, or even a cowman who has to keep a dozen cows in order and look after his own garden, wants more brains than any of your fine town-folk. Ah, and our old parson had a good bit more than any one of these half-witted curates such as you see here in Brighton playing their popish antics in ...
— More Pages from a Journal • Mark Rutherford

... cabin to fat Reuben. Reuben is a Baptist preacher now, but I fear as lazy as ever, though his cabin has three rooms; and little Ella has grown into a bouncing woman, and is ploughing corn on the hot hillside. There are babies a plenty, and one half-witted girl. Across the valley is a house I did not know before, and there I found, rocking one baby and expecting another, one of my schoolgirls, a daughter of Uncle Bird Dowell. She looked somewhat worried with her new duties, but ...
— The Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, 1995, Memorial Issue • Various

... wore the rags in which they had been clothed on the day of their death, and they retained, after their resurrection, a wild and timid air. The sturdiest of the three, Maxime, was the son of a half-witted woman, who followed the soldiers to war, mounted on an ass. One night he fell from the pannier in which she carried him, and was left abandoned by the roadside. From that time forward he had lived solely by theft. The feeblest, Robin, could hardly recall his parents, peasants in the highlands, ...
— The Miracle Of The Great St. Nicolas - 1920 • Anatole France

... Meeting-House, when the Rev. Mr. Burroughs seemed to worship God. What!—he? The holy man!—the learned!—the wise! How has the Devil tempted him? His fellow-criminals, for the most part, are obtuse, uncultivated creatures, some of them scarcely half-witted by nature, and others greatly decayed in their intellects through age. They were an easy prey for the destroyer. Not so with this George Burroughs, as we judge by the inward light which glows through his dark countenance, and, we might almost say, glorifies his ...
— Main Street - (From: "The Snow Image and Other Twice-Told Tales") • Nathaniel Hawthorne

... and you know the other half. Too bad both sets of brains wasn't put in one head. In that case somebody would have been almost half-witted. Better toddle along, soldier. The animals are goin' on a ...
— Aces Up • Covington Clarke

... I have ever known or met," said Admiral Darling, quietly, "there are but three—Nelson and two others, and one of those two was half-witted—who could fetch up muzzle to muzzle without a feeling of that sort. The true courage lies in resisting the impulse, more than being free from it. I know that I was in a precious fright the first time I was shot at, even at a decent distance; ...
— Springhaven - A Tale of the Great War • R. D. Blackmore

... still encamped in the neighborhood of Georgetown, ordered captain Withers to take sergeant Macdonald, with four volunteers, and go on the enemy's lines to see what they were doing. On approaching the town, they met an old tory; one of your half-witted fellows, whom neither side regarded any more than a Jew does a pig, and therefore suffered him to stroll when and where he pleased. The old man knew captain Withers very well; and as soon as he had got near enough to recollect ...
— The Life of General Francis Marion • Mason Locke Weems

... incantations, with mad dances, with obscene songs, with the slaughter of animals, with oaths on an altar and crucifix, they invoked illness, ruin, and death on their enemies. In time they gained accessions to their fraternity from Spanish residents,—thieves, vagrants, deserters from the army, the half-witted and wrong-hearted outcasts from the towns,—and the fantastic ceremonies of the jungle came to mean something more to the purpose of mischief, for the newer Nanigos had more skill and courage than the ...
— Myths & Legends of our New Possessions & Protectorate • Charles M. Skinner

... sent to Nottingham; and, on January 8, 1812, these forces were increased by two additional regiments. The rioters assumed the name of Luddites, and their leader was known as General Lud. The name is said to have originated in 1779, in a Leicestershire village, where a half-witted lad, named Ned Lud, broke a stocking-frame in a fit of passion; hence the common saying, when machinery was broken, that "Ned Lud" did it. A Bill was introduced in the House of Commons (February 14) increasing the severity ...
— The Works of Lord Byron: Letters and Journals, Volume 2. • Lord Byron

... Jones to smoke with the rustics. There was old Jevons with one eye gone, and his clothes the colour of mud, his bag over his back, and his brains laid feet down in earth among the violet roots and the nettle roots; Mary Sanders with her box of wood; and Tom sent for beer, the half-witted son of the sexton— all this ...
— Jacob's Room • Virginia Woolf

... To speak like this, as I conceive, shows a singular misconception of the instinct or set purpose that led Dickens to introduce these characters into his novels at all. It is perfectly true that he has done so several times. Barnaby Rudge, the hero of the book of the same name, is half-witted. Mr. Dick, in "David Copperfield," is decidedly crazy. Mr. Toots is at least simple. Little Miss Flite, in "Bleak House," haunting the Law Courts in expectation of a judgment on the Day of Judgment, is certainly not compos mentis. ...
— Life of Charles Dickens • Frank Marzials

... How stupid of me!" For a moment Malipieri knew that he should like to box her ears, woman though she was; then he felt a sort of pity for her, such as one feels for half-witted creatures that cannot help ...
— The Heart of Rome • Francis Marion Crawford

... illiterate generally. In an age of fatigued scepticism and rigid physical science, the imaginative longings of men will fall back on the savage or peasant necromancy, which will be revived perhaps in some obscure American village, and be run after by the credulous and half-witted. Then the wished-for phenomena will be supplied by the dexterity of charlatans. As it is easy to demonstrate the quackery of paid 'mediums,' as that, at all events, is a vera causa, the theory of Survival and Revival seems adequate. ...
— Cock Lane and Common-Sense • Andrew Lang

... responsibility in parenthood, they will be faced with the ever-increasing problem of feeble-mindedness, that fertile parent of degeneracy, crime, and pauperism. Small as the percentage of the imbecile and half-witted may seem in comparison with the normal members of the community, it should always be remembered that feeble-mindedness is not an unrelated expression of modern civilization. Its roots strike deep into the social fabric. Modern studies indicate that ...
— The Pivot of Civilization • Margaret Sanger

... until a rude one-horse wagon was found in which to transport herself and her baggage to the old stone house. The driver of the vehicle, in which, under ordinary circumstances, Madam Conway would have scorned to ride, was a long, lean, half-witted fellow, utterly unfitted for his business. Still, he managed quite well until they turned into the grassy by-road, and Madam Conway saw through the darkness the light which Maggie had inadvertently left ...
— Maggie Miller • Mary J. Holmes

... up, and he says to the galoot, 'Let's have a throw.' Now the galoot knew old Bell was looking over the fence So he says, 'All right,' and he gives Jim the first shot—Jim fetched down the big pear, got his teeth in it, and strolled off to the house, kind of pitiful of the galoot for a, half-witted ass. When he got to the door, there was the old man. 'What are you here for?' says he. 'Why,' says Rickets, in his off-hand way, for he always had ...
— The Crossing • Winston Churchill

... the two magnates turned to saunter along the street, when Omar observed a dark object like a dog, coiled up in an angle of the parapet. Poking it with his cane, he caused it to uncoil and display the vacant, features of a half-witted negro boy. The poor creature fell on his knees in alarm on seeing the well-known face of Sidi Omar, but sprang to his feet with alacrity, and ran off at full speed on being sternly told ...
— The Pirate City - An Algerine Tale • R.M. Ballantyne

... remote hamlet of Surrey I recently heard the following superstition. In a very sickly family, of which the children were troubled with bad fits, and the poor mother herself is almost half-witted, an infant newly born seemed to be in a very weakly and unnatural state. One of the gossips from the neighbouring cottages coming in, with a mysterious look said, "Sure, the babby wanted something,—a drop of the sacrament wine would do it good." On surprise being ...
— Notes and Queries, Number 71, March 8, 1851 • Various

... Ingersoll and the "plenary inspiration" people are welcome to fight it out—it's none of my funeral. You may prove Zoroaster a myth, Moses a mountebank, Gautama a priestly grafter and Christ the prototype of Francis Schlatter and other half-witted frauds; but adoration of a superior power will remain a living, pulsing thing in the hearts of the people. It is this poetry, this sentiment, this sense of duty, which transcends the dollar that constitutes the adhesive principle of society and makes ...
— Volume 10 of Brann The Iconoclast • William Cowper Brann

... been found at morning on the stones in a dying state. But though there was some evidence of cruelty, there was none of murder; and the aunt and her husband had sought to palliate cruelty by alleging the exceeding stubbornness and perversity of the child, who was declared to be half-witted. Be that as it may, at the orphan's death the aunt inherited her brother's fortune. Before the first wedded year was out, the American quitted England abruptly, and never returned to it. He obtained a cruising vessel, which was lost in the Atlantic two years ...
— The Lock and Key Library • Julian Hawthorne, Ed.

... Half-witted people, only, will suppose I mean grate, for the most obtuse nincompoop must know that anybody can become a grate man by going into the stove business; but to develop yourself into a real bona-fide great man, like GEORGE FRANCIS TRAIN or DANIEL PRATT, requires ...
— Punchinello, Vol. 1, No. 24, September 10, 1870 • Various

... attack on the French monarchy and Jewish circles in London is further shown by the curious sequel to the Gordon Riots. In 1780 the half-witted Lord George Gordon (as a Jewish writer describes him), the head of the so-called "Protestant" mob, marched on the House of Commons to protest against the bill for the relief of Roman Catholic disabilities and then proceeded to carry out his plan of burning ...
— Secret Societies And Subversive Movements • Nesta H. Webster

... was not exempted from the annual visitation which occurs, methinks, about the first of April, when everybody is on the move; and I had my share of good luck, though there were some curious specimens among my visitors. Half-witted men from the almshouse and elsewhere came to see me; but I endeavored to make them exercise all the wit they had, and make their confessions to me; in such cases making wit the theme of our conversation; and so was compensated. Indeed, I found some of them to be wiser than the so-called ...
— Walden, and On The Duty Of Civil Disobedience • Henry David Thoreau

... year was marked by the same sort of disorder. Because a half-witted Negro attempted to murder a white man, a large mob stirred up the city again. There was a repetition of the beating of Negroes and of the destruction of property while the police, as the year before, ...
— A Century of Negro Migration • Carter G. Woodson

... empty, dark, deserted save for an old woman, half-witted, who was crouching on the floor before the sacred Icon, rocking herself and mumbling. They questioned her, but she was deaf ...
— The Black Cross • Olive M. Briggs

... character of unfriendliness and fear, as if the fairy were decidedly a bad fairy. The sun upon the glittering garden depressed her more than the darkness, but she continued to stare at it. Then the world itself went half-witted and she screamed. The scarecrow moved in the sun light. It had stood with its back to her in a battered old black hat and a tattered garment, and with all its tatters flying, it strode ...
— The Man Who Knew Too Much • G.K. Chesterton

... soul subject to the will of his superior, whose mind is also under the same arbitrary control; and so on to the top. If at the head there were God, it would be well; but man is there, and consequently the whole society is a gigantic mistake. To be a sincere member of it, a man must be a half-witted fool, a religious fanatic, or a rogue for whom no duplicity is too scurrilous, even though ...
— The Slave Of The Lamp • Henry Seton Merriman

... despair, of atheism, of denial. Like the others, the priest saw only what he brought. Like all great artists, St. Gaudens held up the mirror and no more. The American layman had lost sight of ideals; the American priest had lost sight of faith. Both were more American than the old, half-witted soldiers who denounced the wasting, on a mere grave, of money which should have ...
— The Education of Henry Adams • Henry Adams

... You must expect a body to be suspicious, if you treat him as you're treating me." Loudon must have told this man the story with which he had been fobbed off about the half-witted Kennedy relative. Would Dobson refer ...
— Huntingtower • John Buchan

... were very pleasant people, kindly and simple. There was a half-witted youth called Krop. He used to fill his mouth with large brass-headed nails. I did not dare to go near him, for he always tried to bite my arms. One day I learned that he had died. My grandmother bought me black silk mittens to wear at ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 153, Sept. 12, 1917 • Various

... old orchard, hedged about by a stone fence overhung with myrtle and honeysuckle, under three ancient cedar trees, were four graves; three of slaves long dead and the other of the half-witted boy. ...
— Chit-Chat; Nirvana; The Searchlight • Mathew Joseph Holt

... corroded by a cruel indifference to the happiness of others. When all the town was agog for the fete to be given by the Regent in honour of the French King, Sheridan sent a forged card of invitation to Romeo Coates, the half-witted dandy, who used at this time to walk about in absurd ribbons and buckles, and was the butt of all the streetsters. The poor fellow arrived at the entrance of Carlton House, proud as a peacock, and he ...
— The Works of Max Beerbohm • Max Beerbohm

... authorities. Had my party not been under control, we could not have put up here; but on my being answerable that no thefts should take place, the people kindly consented to provide us with board and lodgings, and we found them very obliging. One elderly man, half-witted—they said the king had driven his senses from him by seizing his house and family—came at once on hearing of our arrival, laughing and singing in a loose jaunty maniacal manner, carrying odd sticks, shells, ...
— The Discovery of the Source of the Nile • John Hanning Speke

... the poor half-witted fellow, who thought he was going to be beheaded, having no idea of what his punishment might be. And he refused to eat, ...
— Rico And Wiseli - Rico And Stineli, And How Wiseli Was Provided For • Johanna Spyri

... only more oneasy—if anybody could be; an' from the time he could toddle he was hand in glove with Jim Pettijohn's little tacker, Nate. Nate, he wasn't so smart as some folks. Not a fool, uther, an' consid'able better'n half-witted, but queer—queer. He just worshipped Planck Sturtevant, an' where you see one you see t'other, sure. Well, they growed up, an' Planck got married. That seemed to 'bout break Nate's heart, an' he got queerer an' queerer. Old ...
— The Brass Bound Box • Evelyn Raymond

... King Louis courtesy?" asked the duke. "Is it because we give him our daughter to be the wife of his bandy-shanked, half-witted son? There is small need for courtesy, my Lord Bishop. We could not insult this King Louis, should we try, while he sees an advantage to be gained. Give me the letter, and I will sign it, though I despise your whimpering courtesy, ...
— Yolanda: Maid of Burgundy • Charles Major

... common camping-place and like other camps is plentifully strewn with the evidence of the prospector's outfit—hundreds and hundreds of empty tin cans. In time we camp at Cave Springs in a little cove of the Avawatz Buttes. Once there came along a man who all said was half-witted. Perhaps he was, but his intelligence was keen enough to prompt him to claim the springs. By selling the water for quenching thirst at the rate of "four bits" a head for stock and "two bits" apiece for men, his spring proved the best gold mine ...
— Wealth of the World's Waste Places and Oceania • Jewett Castello Gilson

... though the fashionable name for it now-a-days is spinach, I believe. One day after dinner, a large family were taken very ill. The doctor was called in, who attributed it to the greens, of which all had frequently partaken. Living in the family was a half-witted boy named Jake. On a subsequent occasion, when greens had been gathered for dinner, the head of the ...
— Luke Walton • Horatio Alger

... into the mess, and members of the family were in danger of dying. There was a half-witted boy in the family called Jake; and always afterward when they had greens the old man would say, "Now, afore we risk these greens, let's try 'em on Jake. If he stands 'em we're all right." Just so with me. As long ...
— Lincoln's Yarns and Stories • Alexander K. McClure

... feel a respect for this historical strait, on account of the protection it once gave our British ancestors. Smollett makes a certain Captain C——tell this anecdote of George II. and his enlightened minister, the Duke of Newcastle: "In the beginning of the war this poor, half-witted creature told me, in a great fright, that thirty thousand French had marched from Acadie to Cape Breton. 'Where did they find transports?' said I. 'Transports!' cried he; 'I tell you, they marched by land.' By land to the island of Cape Breton?' 'What! ...
— Baddeck and That Sort of Thing • Charles Dudley Warner

... She spoke in a clear, audible voice. "Some half-witted creature. I have never set eyes on ...
— Tales of Space and Time • Herbert George Wells

... him. They reported him just a shade better than half-witted. He was like a one-ideaed child, his whole being comprised in his ability, and ambition ...
— Average Jones • Samuel Hopkins Adams

... ignorance about her identity. Irma, who, after having tried her hand at various domestic occupations, had taken up wood-carving with considerable success, enabling her to discharge at least the material part of her debt of gratitude, was generally held to be a half-witted relation ...
— The World's Greatest Books, Vol. I • Various

... and then began to prepare the way for a French marriage, to strengthen the friendly feeling of the powerful Louis XIV., who had been married to a Spanish wife. Scarcely had the promise for this marriage between Louis's niece Marie Louise and the half-witted Charles been made, when, suddenly, Don Juan sickened and died, and the queen-mother Mariana was again in power. There were dark hints of poison; it was insinuated that Mariana knew more of the affair than she would be willing to ...
— Women of the Romance Countries • John R. Effinger

... document, one of the most interesting of the Territorial records—a summons whereby civilization was called before the bar of primitive man. These presents being signed and sealed, a messenger was sought for their delivery. None better offered than a half-witted sheepherder commonly known as Willie, who chanced to be in town by buckboard from the lower country. This much accomplished, the meeting ...
— Heart's Desire • Emerson Hough

... depend upon it: and his contempt for fools is very flattering to any one who happens to know the present ministry. Their coalition goes on as One should expect; they have the name of having effected it; and the Opposition is no longer mentioned: yet there is not a half-witted prater in the House but can divide with every new minister on his side, except Lyttelton, whenever he pleases. They actually do every day bring in popular bills, and on the first tinkling of the brass, all the new bees swarm back to the Tory side of the House. ...
— The Letters of Horace Walpole, Volume 1 • Horace Walpole

... the sister of Felipe; she bore it even in her beauty. She had the lightness and swiftness of the one, swift as an arrow, light as dew; like the other, she shone on the pale background of the world with the brilliancy of flowers. I could not call by the name of brother that half-witted lad, nor by the name of mother that immovable and lovely thing of flesh, whose silly eyes and perpetual simper now recurred to my mind like something hateful. And if I could not marry, what then? She was helplessly unprotected; her eyes, in that single and long glance ...
— The Merry Men - and Other Tales and Fables • Robert Louis Stevenson

... I had made was that goodnatured unambitious men are cowards when they have no religion. They are dominated and exploited not only by greedy and often half-witted and half-alive weaklings who will do anything for cigars, champagne, motor cars, and the more childish and selfish uses of money, but by able and sound administrators who can do nothing else with them than dominate and exploit them. Government and exploitation become synonymous under such ...
— Back to Methuselah • George Bernard Shaw

... herself, was a poor, harmless, half-witted woman, who roamed about the neighborhood, subsisting on charity, whom everybody knew and cared for. She was remarkably fond of children, and had always shown great attachment for the blind girl. She had the fidelity and sagacity of a dog, and would never leave any thing confided to her care. She ...
— Helen and Arthur - or, Miss Thusa's Spinning Wheel • Caroline Lee Hentz

... to the organ bench, pushing Monsieur Gabriel gently aside. She struck a chord, but the half-witted bellows-blower, whose presence they had forgotten, had ceased to pump air into the organ, and there came only a painful droning from the empty pipes. She called to him imperiously, and with a muttered grumble ...
— A German Pompadour - Being the Extraordinary History of Wilhelmine van Graevenitz, - Landhofmeisterin of Wirtemberg • Marie Hay

... side, just where the snow line lay, above which there was everlasting ice and snow, was a little rough hostel, where travellers rested and slept before they tried the pass itself. An old half-witted man and his goitred wife kept the place, and provided rough food and bedding for travellers, though interesting themselves in no wise with their concerns. In that rude place several men were now stopping, and had been stopping ...
— Tom Tufton's Travels • Evelyn Everett-Green

... was found to be a piece of a dress given by a Mrs. Headley, to Stallan's wife, the remaining part of the dress being found in his cottage! He was arrested, and at first tried to fix the taking of the rag for the tinder upon a half-witted lad, but being unable to shield himself behind this subterfuge, he next went so far as to try and fix the crime upon his own wife, and again in this he conspicuously failed, and at the Cambs. Assizes ...
— Fragments of Two Centuries - Glimpses of Country Life when George III. was King • Alfred Kingston

... manner, resolutely advanced to the silent and forbidding mass of rocks, which rose up so sullenly around him. In another moment, and he was lost to sight in the gloomy shadow of the entrance-passage pointed out to him by the half-witted, but not altogether ...
— Guy Rivers: A Tale of Georgia • William Gilmore Simms

... can't find it. But tomorrow some miserable, chinless, half-witted reptile of a caddie with pop eyes and eight hundred and thirty-seven pimples will find it, and will sell it to someone for sixpence! No, it was a brand-new ball. He'll probably get a shilling for it. That'll be sixpence for himself and sixpence for the Greens Committee. No wonder they're buying ...
— The Clicking of Cuthbert • P. G. Wodehouse

... to Germany when, on February 6th, the only attack ever made on his person occurred in Bremen. He had been at a banquet in the town hall, and was being driven through the illuminated streets to the railway station to return to Berlin, when a half-witted locksmith's apprentice of nineteen, Dietrich Weiland by name, flung a piece of railway iron at him with such good aim that it struck him on the face immediately under the right eye, inflicting a deep and nasty, but not dangerous wound. The Emperor ...
— William of Germany • Stanley Shaw

... voices are there: one is of the deep— It learns the storm-cloud's thunderous melody, Now roars, now murmurs with the changing sea, Now bird-like pipes, now closes soft in sleep; And one is of an old, half-witted sheep Which bleats articulate monotony, And indicates that two and one are three, That glass is green, lakes damp, and mountains steep; And, Wordsworth, ...
— Collections and Recollections • George William Erskine Russell

... least) to do the latter, I will scribble what occurs to me, and take a short survey of the Parliamentary campaign that is just over. The danger, whether real or supposed, which the Queen ran from the attempt of the half-witted coxcomb who fired at her, elicited whatever there was of dormant loyalty in her lieges, and made her extremely popular. Nothing could be more enthusiastic than her reception at Ascot, where dense multitudes testified their attachment to her person, and ...
— The Greville Memoirs (Second Part) - A Journal of the Reign of Queen Victoria from 1837 to 1852 - (Volume 1 of 3) • Charles C. F. Greville

... reader. The hero in the course of the tale does several absurd things; but he finally surpasses himself by hurrying away from the woman he loves, without her knowledge, immediately after he has been joined to her in marriage. The representation of the half-witted Job—a character upon which the author clearly labored hard—neither arouses interest nor touches the heart. It is, indeed, impossible to feel much sympathy with one particular imbecile, no matter how patriotic, in a story where ...
— James Fenimore Cooper - American Men of Letters • Thomas R. Lounsbury

... sparing neither rank nor position. The half-biting, half-droll remarks of this Diogenes of Istria was all that now afforded enjoyment to the broken-down old hero. It was with intense delight that he heard the social grandeur and distinctions that had cost him so dear made ridiculous by this half-witted fellow, whose peculiar forte it was to jeer at the pomp that surrounded the governor, and imitate French elegance in a highly-burlesque manner; and when he did this, his poor princely ...
— Queen Hortense - A Life Picture of the Napoleonic Era • L. Muhlbach

... of her.' She seemed to think it would be Henrietta's fault and, in the kitchen, she told Cook that, but for Miss Henrietta, the Battys, who were close-fisted people—you had only to look at Mr. Batty's mouth—would not be giving a ball at all, but they had their eyes on Miss Henrietta for that half-witted son of theirs. She was sure of it. And Miss Caroline was not fit to go, it would be the death of her. Cook was optimistic. It would do Miss Caroline good; she was always the better for a ...
— THE MISSES MALLETT • E. H. YOUNG

... bobbed courtesies all around. Poor creature; Amory supposed she had never before been noticed in her life—possibly she was half-witted. While she accompanied them (Kerry had invited her to supper) she said nothing which could ...
— This Side of Paradise • F. Scott Fitzgerald

... keep them up informally and feebly. Why take something which was only meant to be respectful and preserve it disrespectfully? Why take something which you could easily abolish as a superstition and carefully perpetuate it as a bore? There have been many instances of this half-witted compromise. Was it not true, for instance, that the other day some mad American was trying to buy Glastonbury Abbey and transfer it stone by stone to America? Such things are not only illogical, but idiotic. There is no particular ...
— All Things Considered • G. K. Chesterton

... her husband had frequented she had been known as "The Stone." She never unbent, and while her beauty and extraordinary type attracted all the men she came across they soon gave up their pursuit. She was quite hopeless, they said—and half-witted, some added! No woman could sit silent like that for hours, otherwise. Zara thought of all these things, as she sat on the rickety chair in the Neville Street lodging. How she had loathed that whole atmosphere! How she loathed bohemians and ...
— The Reason Why • Elinor Glyn

... that he had been absent from Brittany for over a year, and people had ceased to associate their names. The witnesses who made this statement were not of a very reputable sort. One was an old herb-gatherer suspected of witch-craft, another a drunken clerk from a neighbouring parish, the third a half-witted shepherd who could be made to say anything; and it was clear that the prosecution was not satisfied with its case, and would have liked to find more definite proof of Lanrivain's complicity than the statement of the ...
— The Early Short Fiction of Edith Wharton, Part 1 (of 10) • Edith Wharton

... be a crazy sort of a bird," went on Betty, "and, come to think of it, that poor chap didn't look very bright. Maybe he was half-witted, and that's why they called ...
— The Outdoor Girls in Florida - Or, Wintering in the Sunny South • Laura Lee Hope

... cruelty in Governor Tryon's character was exhibited soon after the battle. Several prisoners were taken by him, and one of them, a poor half-witted youth named James Few, was, by Tryon's order, hung on the spot without trial. Twelve other prisoners were soon convicted of high treason and sentenced to death. Six of them were hanged almost immediately; the execution of the others was delayed for a few days in order ...
— School History of North Carolina • John W. Moore

... quaint, simple way which belonged to him, was gentle and obedient to all. But there was one among the Brethren of St. Michaelsburg whom he loved far above all the rest—Brother John, a poor half-witted fellow, of some twenty-five or thirty years of age. When a very little child, he had fallen from his nurse's arms and hurt his head, and as he grew up into boyhood, and showed that his wits had been addled by his fall, his family knew not what else to ...
— Otto of the Silver Hand • Howard Pyle

... had strewn the woods with more than they could carry away. Many of our ghosts were scattered abroad, but this time very few came back, all the young men having sailed with Captain; and not only ghosts, for a poor half-witted lad was missing, and we reckoned that he had stowed himself away or perhaps shipped as cabin-boy, ...
— The Ghost Ship • Richard Middleton

... man with whom I have to deal is old and half-witted.' But no, young fellow; that is not so, for long before YOUR time had I taken the measure of life. Regard these memorials. ARE they memorials? For what do they commemorate as concerns you and myself? They commemorate, in that respect, nothing. No, they are ...
— Through Russia • Maxim Gorky



Words linked to "Half-witted" :   backward, archaicism, slow-witted, feebleminded



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