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Half-witted   /hæf-wˈɪtɪd/   Listen
Half-witted

adjective
1.
Retarded in intellectual development.  Synonyms: backward, feebleminded, slow-witted.






WordNet 3.0 © 2010 Princeton University








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"Half-witted" Quotes from Famous Books



... development to the condition of a sailor on shore beating his way, horseback and afoot, across the country from the Gulf to the Pacific. But in my sleep I traversed it, and, lying on my back in the morning, puffing at my first pipe, I lived again my experience with the half-witted tramp whom I had entertained in my camp and who changed his soul in ...
— The Grain Ship • Morgan Robertson

... your dying.' No doubt Brummell's friends heartily wished that he would go on with his dying, for he had already lived too long; but he would live on. He is described in his last days as a miserable, slovenly, half-witted old creature, creeping about to the houses of a few friends he retained or who were kind enough to notice him still, jeered at by the gamins, and remarkable now, not for the cleanliness, but the filthiness and raggedness of ...
— The Wits and Beaux of Society - Volume 2 • Grace & Philip Wharton

... be brought to Saint Germain, so that he might identify him personally; and, as he pretended to be half-witted or an idiot, he was thrown half naked into a dungeon. His allowance of dry bread diminished day by day, at which he complained, and it was decided to make ...
— The Memoirs of Madame de Montespan, Complete • Madame La Marquise De Montespan

... never became, as do the natures of most voluptuaries, 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 was ...
— The Works of Max Beerbohm • Max Beerbohm

... cripple. But an officer can sabre a cripple; and a Prussian officer will go on doing it until you take away the sabre. It is this insane and rigid realism that makes their case peculiar: like that of a Chinaman copying something, or a half-witted servant taking a message. If they had the power to put black and white posts round the grave of Virgil, or dig up Dante to see if he had yellow hair, the mere doing of it which for some of us would be the most unlikely, ...
— The Appetite of Tyranny - Including Letters to an Old Garibaldian • G.K. Chesterton

... I bring you here to resolve me, if you can, a curious puzzle in archaeology, and you fall to playing devil's pranks upon a half-witted child. ...
— Old Fires and Profitable Ghosts • A. T. Quiller-Couch

... age—there or thereabout; for with the exact date of his birth, although from circumstances most easily ascertained, even the assistant-overseer did not take the trouble to make himself acquainted. He was a parish child born in the workhouse, the offspring of a half-witted orphan girl and a sturdy vagrant, partly tinker, partly ballad-singer, who took good care to disappear before the strong arm of justice, in the shape of a tardy warrant and a halting constable, could contrive to intercept his flight. He joined, it was said, a tribe of gipsies, to whom ...
— Jesse Cliffe • Mary Russell Mitford

... and 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; ...
— School History of North Carolina • John W. Moore

... F.'s class, and 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 think?' 'I think,' said the man, 'it is only three steps.' ...
— Religion in Earnest - A Memorial of Mrs. Mary Lyth, of York • John Lyth

... 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

... the top of it had been famous for his politeness and hilarity during a chronic toothache. If a procession came down the street with a brass band and a hero on a white horse, we should think it odd to be told that he had been very patient with a half-witted maiden aunt. Yet some such pantomime impossibility is the only measure of the innovation of the Christian idea of a popular and recognized saint. It must especially be realized that while this kind of glory was the highest, it was also in a sense the lowest. The materials of it were almost ...
— A Short History of England • G. K. Chesterton

... 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 ...
— The American Mind - The E. T. Earl Lectures • Bliss Perry

... Princess Mary's joys and consolations; but 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 ...
— War and Peace • Leo Tolstoy

... Clark, the 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! ...
— The Devil's Own - A Romance of the Black Hawk War • Randall Parrish

... 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. ...
— The Boys' and Girls' Plutarch - Being Parts of The "Lives" of Plutarch • Plutarch

... forgotten. Of course! 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

... 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 ...
— The Shaving of Shagpat • George Meredith

... spars I see 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, Would ...
— More Bab Ballads • W. S. Gilbert

... 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, puzzled, ...
— The Best Short Stories of 1920 - and the Yearbook of the American Short Story • Various

... help, without which Bliss would not have succeeded even as well as he did. Bliss was a strong active fellow, and good at the games, so that with most of the school he got on very well; but, nevertheless, he was generally set down as nearly half-witted—a mere dolt. Dolt or not, he did Charlie inestimable service; and if any boy is in like case with Bliss, let him take courage, for even the merest dolt has immense power for good as well as for harm, and Bliss extended ...
— St. Winifred's - The World of School • Frederic W. Farrar

... progressive Friends, in Pennsylvania. The subject of Woman's Rights came up for discussion, and opinions were expressed pro and con, when suddenly there came striding up the aisle an awkward boy, half-witted and about half-drunk. He stepped to the platform, flung his cap to the floor, and said that he wanted to give his testimony. "I don't know much about this subject or any other, but my mother was ...
— History of Woman Suffrage, Volume II • Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda Joslyn Gage

... if 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, ...
— The Works of John Dryden, Vol. 6 (of 18) - Limberham; Oedipus; Troilus and Cressida; The Spanish Friar • John Dryden

... which the guide, a half-witted fellow from the next valley, was holding for me, and we set out. The guide walked beside my horse, and Mr Coningham beside Clara's. The road was level for a little way, but it soon turned up on the hill where I had been wandering, and went along ...
— Wilfrid Cumbermede • George MacDonald

... good standing examined 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 to play his ...
— Average Jones • Samuel Hopkins Adams

... earnest conversation with a person whom I at once recognized as a meddlesome architectural reformer, who, because he had no gift for putting up anything was ever intent upon pulling them down; in various parts of the country having prevailed upon half-witted old folks to destroy their old-fashioned houses, particularly ...
— I and My Chimney • Herman Melville

... anecdote, supplied by Mr. Blair, is an amusing illustration both of the funeral propensity, and of the working of a defective brain, in a half-witted carle, who used to range the province of Galloway armed with a huge pike-staff, and who one day met a funeral procession a few miles from Wigtown. A long train of carriages, and farmers riding on horse-back, suggested the propriety of his bestriding his staff, ...
— Reminiscences of Scottish Life and Character • Edward Bannerman Ramsay

... 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

... Perucca now. The servants who had obeyed Mattei Perucca in fear and trembling, had refused to obey Denise, who, with much spirit, had dismissed them one and all. An old man remained, who was generally considered to be half-witted; and Maria Andrei, the widow of Pietro, who was shot at Olmeta. Denise superintended the ...
— The Isle of Unrest • Henry Seton Merriman

... others, as in the case, for instance, of this mysterious friend or protege whose name was Strangeways. Of the history of his acquaintance with him Palford knew nothing, and that he should choose to burden himself with a half-witted invalid —in these terms the solicitor described him— was simply in-explainable. If he had asked for advice or by his manner left an opening for the offering of it, he would have been most strongly counseled ...
— T. Tembarom • Frances Hodgson Burnett

... was a fool, Fritz was a fool. She thought of him at that moment as half-witted. For he saw nothing, nothing. He was a blind man led by his animal passions, and when at last he was forced to see, when she came and, as it were, lifted his eyelids with her fingers, and said to him, "Look! Look at what has been done to me!" he could only be angry ...
— The Woman With The Fan • Robert Hichens

... would have admitted that if he hadn't been a fool. I fancy he is a half-witted chap. They never would have left a fellow of his ...
— With Lee in Virginia - A Story of the American Civil War • G. A. Henty

... 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 afterwards. The widow was ...
— The Lock and Key Library • Julian Hawthorne, Ed.

... very old and deaf, and we can get no information from her. The shock has made her half-witted, but I understand that she was never very bright. There is one very important circumstance, however. Look ...
— Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

... Carmichael ran up the hill after the retreating figure, and, as she was a good runner, and the poor wanderer was tired, she soon overtook her. Taking both her hands in her own, and kissing the woman, she said: "Come with us, Matilda, and we will drive you home." The half-witted creature responded to the caress, and allowed herself to be led to the boat. "I lost my way," she said. "It is a new road I had never been on before, and I got turned round and came back here three times, and I am very tired." The colonel and Mr. Terry made her enter the boat before ...
— Two Knapsacks - A Novel of Canadian Summer Life • John Campbell

... 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

... stubborn about choosing the direction in which 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 ...
— War in the Garden of Eden • Kermit Roosevelt

... adventurers 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, while ...
— Murder Point - A Tale of Keewatin • Coningsby Dawson

... room. She had scarcely told the 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 seems to deny the evidence of foul play, ...
— A Master of Mysteries • L. T. Meade

... lessons in detecting from Shermlock Hollums, and I did. He says to me, when I'd finished the course, 'Mike, I hate to say it, but I can't call you a rival. You're so far ahead of me in detective knowledge that I'm like a half-witted child beside you.' That's what my old friend and teacher, Shermlock ...
— Philo Gubb Correspondence-School Detective • Ellis Parker Butler

... 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

... journal, 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

... second act. As he had half expected, she was in Mrs. Oglethorpe's box, and it was crowded with men. He fancied that his older friend looked both glum and amused. As for Dinwiddie, his expression was half-witted. ...
— Black Oxen • Gertrude Franklin Horn Atherton

... was strolling about the town, a poor, crippled, half-witted fellow came jerking himself across the street after me and ...
— Winter Sunshine • John Burroughs

... the kid, but the old sinner jest whined around an' wouldn't give any sort o' satisfaction at all. So Rifle-Eye, he shakes the dust o' that house off'n his feet so good an' hard that he mighty nearly shakes the nails out of his boot-heels, an' hunts up a legal shark. Then an' there he adopts this half-witted youngster, an' ...
— The Boy With the U. S. Foresters • Francis Rolt-Wheeler

... been made on a small scale, and it has always failed; on a large scale it would only fail more magnificently. People who are naturally kind of heart, and of less than average selfishness, wish that the impossible might be compassed, but, unless they are half-witted, or are paid agitators, they recognize that the impossible is well named. Self-interest is the core of human nature, and before that core could be appreciably modified, if ever, the supply of heat ...
— The So-called Human Race • Bert Leston Taylor

... I'd 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 ...
— The Kellys and the O'Kellys • Anthony Trollope

... not 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 even among the learned, ...
— Curiosities of Literature, Vol. 1 (of 3) • Isaac D'Israeli

... believe you when you tell him your name, and whose only associations with that name date seven years back and are disagreeable? Nobody can blame Kate for giving Archibald up; she would have been more than human if she could have intrusted her heart to the keeping of a half-witted wizard, whose mysterious likeness to, or connection with, a charming young gentleman rendered him only the more undesirable. Poor Kate! If she gave her heart to Archibald, and then Archibald became somebody else, what shall we say became of her heart? Must it not have been irretrievably ...
— Archibald Malmaison • Julian Hawthorne

... a stick of wood by a half-witted person under a misunderstanding of my intentions; but the circumstances are such as to blacken my character hopelessly; but I am innocent!" he cried, stretching forward both arms and quite losing his ...
— The Grandissimes • George Washington Cable

... me tell you about my friend Peter, Rebecca Thatcher's half-witted grandson. You know how painfully we were both struck by the poor fellow's listless hopeless manner when we were at the cottage on the moor. I thought of it a great deal afterwards, and it occurred to me that our head-gardener might ...
— Milly Darrell and Other Tales • M. E. Braddon

... as painful to hear as they are impossible to forget. That he survived is surprising. What wonder that this man, who was "violent," or who was made violent, would not permit the attendants to dress him! But he had a half-witted friend, a ward-mate, who could coax him into his clothes when his oppressors found him ...
— A Mind That Found Itself - An Autobiography • Clifford Whittingham Beers

... 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 females ...
— Space Tug • Murray Leinster

... said. "Nowt o' th' sort. What's tha' been doin' with thysel'—? hidin' out o' sight an' lettin' folk think tha' was cripple an' half-witted?" ...
— The Secret Garden • Frances Hodgson Burnett

... began to be afraid of this amorous and jealous, half-witted woman, and flew into a rage, as brutes do; and one night he even went so far as to strike her, so they sent for me. When I arrived she was writhing and screaming in a terrible crisis of pain, anger, passion, how do I know what? Can one tell what goes ...
— Maupassant Original Short Stories (180), Complete • Guy de Maupassant

... me—actually challenged me, though I was playing parson, and there might have been work for me but for his own bull-headed father, who came to my rescue, beat the boy and drove him from the place. There is nobody else to give me any annoyance, unless it be a sort of half-witted chap, a cousin of the former—a sleepy dog that is never, I believe, entirely awake unless when he's trout-fishing. He has squinted at me, as if he could quarrel if he dared, but the lad is dull—too dull to be very troublesome. You might kiss his grandmother under his nose, and he would probably ...
— Charlemont • W. Gilmore Simms

... 'A half-witted creature we deal with out of charity,' he gestured back. And he put her inside the room-door, whispering, 'Let me get rid ...
— Ghetto Comedies • Israel Zangwill

... into a yelling, shrieking fit of laughter. Instantly the yellow-haired serfs in waiting, the Calmucks at the hall-door, and the half-witted dwarf who crawled around the table in his tow shirt, began laughing in chorus, as violently as they could. The Princess Martha and Prince Boris laughed also; and while the old man's eyes were dimmed with ...
— Beauty and The Beast, and Tales From Home • Bayard Taylor

... to the other man who has given up a fortune this very morning just because he loves you—while you've been doing this and despising him—yes, you know you do in your heart, for a simple, good-natured, half-witted creature who amuses himself with crazy inventions, he has done a thing to save you from pain and shame and sorrow—you, not me—because he loved you. And now I love him. I would give all I have in life for the miracle to happen. But it can't. Don't ...
— Septimus • William J. Locke

... walk in the garden for a time, since the rain had passed off and the afternoon was now very soft and pleasant. So she went, and there presently was met by the Flounder, who was supposed to be asleep, but had followed her, a person of whom the half-witted Bridget was ...
— The Lady Of Blossholme • H. Rider Haggard

... who had given the alarm was the centre of a throng of lads who gazed with envy and awe, discovering in him a new quality. He held forth to them eloquently. The women stared after the figure of the major and old Peter, his pursuer. Jerozel Bronson, a half-witted lad who comprehended nothing save an occasional genial word, leaned against the fence and grinned like a skull. The major and the pursuer passed out of view around the turn in the road where the great maples lazily shook the dust ...
— The Little Regiment - And Other Episodes of the American Civil War • Stephen Crane

... 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 ...
— A Political and Social History of Modern Europe V.1. • Carlton J. H. Hayes

... while I was cheapening a pair of spectacles, with a Jew-pedlar. I am afraid there is something still lurking in that little heart of hers, which I hope a change of objects will remove. Let me know what you think of this half-witted Doctor's impertinent, ridiculous, and absurd notion of my disorder — So far from being dropsical, I am as lank in the belly as a grey-hound; and, by measuring my ancle with a pack-thread, I find the swelling subsides every day. From such doctors, good Lord deliver us! — I have ...
— The Expedition of Humphry Clinker • Tobias Smollett

... 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 within thirty ...
— Jacob's Room • Virginia Woolf

... on, but somehow I did not feel so much like buying ribbons as before I met Jim. I couldn't help thinking of poor Mrs. Burt, without any comforts for sickness, and no one to take care of her but this half-witted son; however, I comforted myself by supposing the neighbors would not let her suffer, and that Calanthy would likely give Jim something good to ...
— Continental Monthly, Vol. 4, No 3, September 1863 - Devoted to Literature and National Policy • Various

... 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

... window. Even as Ranulph was about to knock and call the poor vagrant's name, the clac-clac stopped, and then there came a sniffing at the shutters as a dog sniffs at the door of a larder. Following the sniffing came a guttural noise of emptiness and desire. Now there was no mistake; it was the half-witted fellow beyond all doubt, and he could help him—Dormy Jamais should help him: he should go and warn the Governor and the soldiers at the Hospital, while he himself would speed to Gorey in search of his father. He would alarm the regiment there ...
— The Judgment House • Gilbert Parker

... weak, handsome face and roving eyes the young people recognised Gibbie, the half-witted gipsy lad. An expression of disappointment crossed his face as he looked over the group and seemed ...
— The Adventure League • Hilda T. Skae

... dressed woman replied: "Yes, my child. So you're the Adair thing that Ferriday is gone half-witted over. He's just been talking my ear off about you. Sit down. Stop where you are. Let me see you. Turn around. I see." She turned to the stately dame. "Rather nice, isn't she, Mrs. Congdon? H'mm!" She beckoned Kedzie to come close. "What are your eyes like?" ...
— We Can't Have Everything • Rupert Hughes

... you want to know?" asked the other, in surprise. "I am perfectly willing, if you can make it easy for me, to tell you everything. The man who is known as Moole is a half-witted old farm labourer who was picked up by Farrington some years ago to serve his purpose. He is the man who unknowingly poses as a millionaire. It is his estate which Farrington is supposed to be administering. You see," he explained, "this rather takes off the suspicion which naturally attaches ...
— The Secret House • Edgar Wallace

... "Pharaoh's Treasury" at Petra, or from the Sinaitic Wady Lej. At the mouth of 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'zi, by name Mas', had tantalized us with a glorious account of the "House of 'Antar" in the Hism, 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

... 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

... 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 reason why a pushing American financier should pay ...
— All Things Considered • G. K. Chesterton

... 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, with a tall hat, a lobster claw for a nose, a uniform with big red flannel ...
— Lady Betty Across the Water • Charles Norris Williamson and Alice Muriel Williamson

... hundred shots against the public-house; but never one against its really shameful feature. The sign of decay is not in the public-house, but in the private bar; or rather the row of five or six private bars, into each of which a respectable dipsomaniac can go in solitude, and by indulging his own half-witted sin violate his own half-witted morality. Nearly all these places are equipped with an atrocious apparatus of ground-glass windows which can be so closed that they practically conceal the face of the buyer ...
— George Bernard Shaw • Gilbert K. Chesterton

... we ought to, but if we say, in the language of the old satirist, "that man is a two-legged bird, without feathers," the phrase does, for a moment, make us look at man from the outside and gives us a thrill in his presence. When the author of the Book of Job insists upon the huge, half-witted, apparently unmeaning magnificence and might of Behemoth, the hippopotamus, he is appealing precisely to this sense of wonder provoked by the grotesque. "Canst thou play with him as with a bird, canst thou bind him for thy maidens?" he says in an admirable passage. The notion of the ...
— Robert Browning • G. K. Chesterton

... 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 for an opportunity to poison her. They said that it was more generous ...
— The History of John Bull • John Arbuthnot

... 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, ...
— Guy Rivers: A Tale of Georgia • William Gilmore Simms

... When we contemplate, for example, the many hundred millions of human beings who now people the earth, we behold thousands who are doomed to helpless imbecility, and we may trace an insensible gradation between them and the half-witted, and from these again to individuals of perfect understanding, so that tens of thousands must have existed in the course of ages, who in their moral and intellectual condition, have exhibited a passage from the irrational ...
— The Antiquity of Man • Charles Lyell

... me. I am bound to add that he made a hearty meal, and drank three cups of strong tea of my brewing. I gave him a cigar, one of a lot I had got from a Dutch farmer who was experimenting with their manufacture—and all the while I babbled of myself and my opinions. He must have thought me half-witted, and indeed before long I began to be of the same opinion myself. I told him that I meant to sleep the night here, and go back in the morning to Blaauwildebeestefontein, and then to Pietersdorp for stores. By-and-by I could see that he had ceased ...
— Prester John • John Buchan

... society 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 adventurers, no words ...
— The Reason Why • Elinor Glyn

... 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

... lost in a fog of effectives, objectives, munitions and ammunitions, marches and counter-marches. But the mass of citizens listening to these obscure and never-ending details could see behind the half-witted soldier the bare and bleeding breast of the fatherland enduring a thousand deaths; and by look and voice urged the jurymen, sitting quietly on their bench, to use their verdict as a club to fell the foes of ...
— The Gods are Athirst • Anatole France

... 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 as "half-marrow" or ordinary seaman because ...
— The Shellback's Progress - In the Nineteenth Century • Walter Runciman

... a sister, the only remaining child, except a half-witted brother, he heard at long intervals from home. His father remained strangely inexorable, fiercely forbade his return, and became violent at the slightest mention of his name by his sister, or some old ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Volume 2, Issue 11, September, 1858 • Various

... acquired air of 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 coarse blue ...
— John Bull's Other Island • George Bernard Shaw

... there lived not far from Baghdad a half-witted fellow, who was much addicted to the use of bang. Being reduced to poverty, he was obliged to sell his cow, which he took to the market one day, but the animal being in such a poor condition, no one would buy it, and after waiting till he was weary he returned homeward. On the ...
— The Book of Noodles - Stories Of Simpletons; Or, Fools And Their Follies • W. A. Clouston

... lady—his wife doubtless! But how young the major was! he had imagined him a man in middle age at least!—Bless his soul! was he never to get rid of this impostor fellow! it was not the major! it was the rascal calling himself Sir Gilbert Galbraith!—the half-witted wretch his fool of a daughter insisted on marrying! Here he was, ubiquitous as Satan! And—bless his soul again! there was the minx, Jenny! looking as if the place was her own! The silly tears in her eyes too!—It was all too absurd! He had just been dreaming of his dead wife, and clearly ...
— Sir Gibbie • George MacDonald

... 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 him, ...
— The Life of General Francis Marion • Mason Locke Weems

... she was a bright little thing, but she had fallen on her head, and though she did not seem much hurt at first, she became half-witted, and was now an idiot. As she grew older she was sometimes inclined to be mischievous. Lawry might have watched over her, but she was so active and quick that she could easily get away from him. She knew well that it hurt him to move, so she kept ...
— Taking Tales - Instructive and Entertaining Reading • W.H.G. Kingston

... consequently, her own. It is evident from this house, the furnishings and the books, that he was a gentleman and an educated one. For as long as she can remember they were served and looked after in every way by a woman called Hester Prynne and this half-witted fellow called Caliban. Of course I have no idea what their real names were. The woman died very recently and the girl was left alone. There was a big chest fairly well filled with money under her father's bed, but not a line or word in it to give any clue. Either her father or mother ...
— Margarita's Soul - The Romantic Recollections of a Man of Fifty • Ingraham Lovell

... 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 married him ...
— Supplemental Nights, Volume 6 • Richard F. Burton

... years his junior. Now this brother was very dear to Mr. Caresfoot; his affection for him was the one weak point in his armour; nor was it rendered any the less sincere, but rather the more touching, by the fact that its object was little better than half-witted. It is therefore easy to imagine his distress and anger when he heard that a woman who had till shortly before been kitchen-maid at the Abbey House, and was now living in the village, had been ...
— Dawn • H. Rider Haggard

... You've torn me into rags and tatters, and you did it adorably. What I said was idle, half-witted, gossiping nonsense. So forget every atom of it as soon as you can, my dear, and let me prove that I'm not an utter idiot, if ...
— The Younger Set • Robert W. Chambers

... stand. Stane, stone. Stan't, stood. Stang, sting. Stank, a moat; a pond. Stap, to stop. Stapple, a stopper. Stark, strong. Starnies, dim. of starn, star. Starns, stars. Startle, to course. Staumrel, half-witted. Staw, a stall. Staw, to surfeit; to sicken. Staw, stole. Stechin, cramming. Steek, a stitch. Steek, to shut; to close. Steek, to shut; to touch, meddle with. Steeve, compact. Stell, a still. Sten, a leap; a spring. Sten't, sprang. Stented, erected; set on ...
— Poems And Songs Of Robert Burns • Robert Burns

... he tells Boniface to pay himself out of the fine he should have had to pay for the blow if charged before the magistrate, and give the rest of the money to the waiter.—A similar story is told in an Arabian collection, of a half-witted ...
— Flowers from a Persian Garden and Other Papers • W. A. Clouston

... 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

... a leveler of fortune, station, country and religion. The 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 ...
— The Fifth Wheel - A Novel • Olive Higgins Prouty

... occasion a conspiracy was formed to take his life by secret assassination. A great chieftain, named Guy of Burgundy, William's uncle, was the leader of it, and a half-witted man, named Galet, who occupied the place of jester or fool in William's court, was the means of discovering and exposing it. These jesters, of whom there was always one or more in the retinue of every great ...
— William the Conqueror - Makers of History • Jacob Abbott

... even I! oh, certainly, my lord, even a half-witted child of seventeen can perceive as ...
— O Henry Memorial Award Prize Stories of 1919 • Various

... near 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 would bid ...
— The Arabian Nights Entertainments Complete • Anonymous

... investigation were influenced by the popular belief that the child had been tortured to death by the Jews. This belief was fostered by two Christian fortune-tellers, a prostitute beggar-woman, called Mary Terentyeva, and a half-witted old maid, by the name of Yeremyeyeva, who by way of divination made the parents of the child believe that its death was due to the Jews. At the judicial inquiry, Terentyeva implicated two of the most prominent Jews of Velizh, the merchant ...
— History of the Jews in Russia and Poland. Volume II • S.M. Dubnow

... is under that impartial sun, before that wide and ancient sea, among her quiet woods and broken shrines, it is not without a kind of hesitation and shame almost that you learn that the great fortress which crowns the city is now a prison in which are many half-witted unhappy folk, who in this transitory life have left the common way. It is strange that in so many lands the prison is so often in a place of the greatest beauty. At Tarragona, far away over the sea looking towards ...
— Florence and Northern Tuscany with Genoa • Edward Hutton

... leap from that awful height and caught the lower rope, there had come a change in Betty Lamb's soul. It had seemed hours, nay, years to her, the space of time in which he was swinging himself up and leaping down. Perhaps, half-witted as she had been, this was in reality her life, not the other that for sixty years she had been visibly living. She saw that his eye was fixed upon her; she knew that the kisses were thrown to her. She rose and walked ...
— A Dozen Ways Of Love • Lily Dougall

... three in the parlor of the parsonage, lighted up by the soft glow of the coal fire. No one except a person thoroughly familiar with the real character of Philip Strong could have told why that silence fell on him instead of a careless laugh at the crazy remark of a half-witted stranger tramp. Just how long the silence lasted, he did not know. Only, when it was broken he ...
— The Crucifixion of Philip Strong • Charles M. Sheldon

... 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 grass is green, lakes damp, and mountains steep: And, Wordsworth, both are thine: at certain times Forth from the heart of ...
— The Bed-Book of Happiness • Harold Begbie

... you will say: Friday, went to the Lower Rooms; wore my sprigged muslin robe with blue trimmings—plain black shoes—appeared to much advantage; but was strangely harassed by a queer, half-witted man, who would make me dance with him, and distressed me by ...
— Persuasion • Jane Austen

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

... all this to sweeter purposes; and the building of the first organ became like the book of his life: it expanded to the full compass of his nature, in its sorrow and delight. In long, enjoyable days of wind and sun by the river-side, the seemingly half-witted "brother" sought and found the needful varieties of reed. The carpenters, under his instruction, set up the great wooden passages for the thunder; while the little pipes of pasteboard simulated the sound ...
— Imaginary Portraits • Walter Horatio Pater

... the oldest of her company, a half-witted creature we grieved at slaying, but reptile in her malice, for as she lay passing, with the blood oozing to her breast, she reviled us with curses that overran each other in their hurry from ...
— John Splendid - The Tale of a Poor Gentleman, and the Little Wars of Lorn • Neil Munro

... 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, and ...
— St Ives • Robert Louis Stevenson

... fellow, but you know as well as myself, that there exists not the shadow of a hope of this. That scarecrow, Giles, half-witted as he is, ...
— Hardscrabble - The Fall of Chicago: A Tale of Indian Warfare • John Richardson

... think any self-respecting tramps would have chummed up with us. Many of my fellow prisoners bore unmistakable evidences of premature old age—the fruits of solitary confinement, lack of exercise, and insufficient food. Others seemed half-witted and dazed as a result of the brutal treatment which they had received. Some were so weak that they could scarcely manipulate the crazy pump. Many were garbed only in trousers, being void of boots, socks, shirts and vest. Unkempt beards concealed ...
— Sixteen Months in Four German Prisons - Wesel, Sennelager, Klingelputz, Ruhleben • Henry Charles Mahoney

... of him!" Van Reypen fairly glowered with indignation. "That nincompoop! with long hair and a green neck-tie! He's a half-witted farmer!" ...
— Patty Blossom • Carolyn Wells

... of the defeat of the Lancastrian army at Barnet. From Cerne she went to lead a force against the Yorkists at Tewkesbury. There she was defeated, her son brutally murdered and all hope lost for the cause of her imprisoned husband, the feeble and half-witted Henry VI. ...
— Wanderings in Wessex - An Exploration of the Southern Realm from Itchen to Otter • Edric Holmes

... 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 ...
— Patty Fairfield • Carolyn Wells

... 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 I may perhaps become, under providence, the instrument ...
— The Line of Love - Dizain des Mariages • James Branch Cabell

... of the Court played this pleader a trick by appointing him to defend at the Assizes a half-witted peasant accused of forgery. But Monsieur Savaron procured the poor man's acquittal by proving his innocence and showing that he had been a tool in the hands of the real culprits. Not only did his line of defence succeed, ...
— Albert Savarus • Honore de Balzac

... half-witted, of course," Mrs. Ball said ruminatively. "Can't be otherwise. But she must have known something about Sarah Honey ...
— Sheila of Big Wreck Cove - A Story of Cape Cod • James A. Cooper

... save us from pillage and murder and anarchy? Listen to that, you foreign-born fraud!" and far up the street the morning air was ringing with shouts of acclaim; "listen to that! There's some American music for you, you half-witted, stall-fed socialist!" For loud and clear a trumpet-call echoed down the thoroughfare. "Look at that!" he cried, throwing aside the lower shutters, "look at that, you mad-brained, ...
— A Tame Surrender, A Story of The Chicago Strike • Charles King

... 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 Letters of Horace Walpole, Volume 1 • Horace Walpole

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

... sir knave," said the Constable, raising himself on his elbow, from what drunken rhymer did you learn that half-witted satire?" ...
— The Betrothed • Sir Walter Scott

... Mary—don't I know that? Hasn't Freddie told me time and again how Grant used to fight for Freddie when he was a little boy and the big boys plagued him. Grant whipped the whole school for teasing a little half-witted boy once—did you know that?" Mary Adams shook her head. "Well, he did, and—well now, isn't that nice. I can see just how he feels!" And she could. Never lived a more sympathetic soul than Rhoda. And as she rocked she said: "Of course, if that's the reason—law me, Mary, you never can tell ...
— In the Heart of a Fool • William Allen White

... deaths from other causes than consumption was that of a poor feeble-minded man whose brother, a sturdy, devout, severe puritan, was a very hard taskmaster. Poor half-witted Charlie was kept steadily at work,—although he was not able to do much, for his body was about as feeble as his mind. He never could be taught the right use of an axe, and when he was set to chopping down trees for ...
— The Story of My Boyhood and Youth • John Muir

... 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



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



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