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Imbecile   /ˈɪmbəsəl/  /ˈɪmbəsaɪl/   Listen
Imbecile

noun
1.
A person of subnormal intelligence.  Synonyms: changeling, cretin, half-wit, idiot, moron, retard.






WordNet 3.0 © 2010 Princeton University








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"Imbecile" Quotes from Famous Books



... pretend to be enlightened are renegades to your country! He among you who talks that language neglects his own in such a way that he neither writes nor understands it, and how many have I not seen who pretended not to know a single word of it! But fortunately, you have an imbecile government! While Russia enslaves Poland by forcing the Russian language upon it, while Germany prohibits French in the conquered provinces, your government strives to preserve yours, and you in return, a remarkable people under an incredible government, ...
— The Reign of Greed - Complete English Version of 'El Filibusterismo' • Jose Rizal

... have to sink together since we can't swim together," he said at last, with a touch of reckless vexation, as he gazed at the naturally stupid and by that time imbecile face of ...
— The Battery and the Boiler - Adventures in Laying of Submarine Electric Cables • R.M. Ballantyne

... owl and the ape, there, they seem on very good terms. I wonder if they go to the room of Monsieur Kater! I think so; for one—the ghost in white, he is a little lame like the Englishman who goes always to the room of Monsieur.—Ah, bah! Imbecile! Away with ...
— The Eye of Dread • Payne Erskine

... during his confinement. Had his own wife seen him at that moment it is doubtful whether she would have recognized her lord. Could it be possible that that frail, tottering, wasted form, and that blanched, sunken-eyed, imbecile-looking countenance were all that were left of the once formidable Robert Gourlay? The sight was one which might have moved his bitterest enemy to tears. His clothing, a world too wide for so shrunken a tenant, hung sloppy and slovenly about him, and it was ...
— The Story of the Upper Canada Rebellion, Volume 1 • John Charles Dent

... divulging the old incestuous ways of producing witches, by the intercourse of a mother with her son. Some sort of comedy perhaps was made out of the old materials, in the shape of a grotesque Semiramis or an imbecile Ninus. But the more serious game, which doubtless really took place, attests the existence of great profligacy in the upper walks of society: it took the form of a most hateful and ...
— La Sorciere: The Witch of the Middle Ages • Jules Michelet

... said I, "no doubt," as one humors an imbecile. "I confess, however," I added, "that this tiny human figure puzzles me. If it were an Indian we could set it down as evidence of some pigmy race in America, but it appears to be a European ...
— The Lost World • Arthur Conan Doyle

... character branded with almost Pensylvanian notoriety? Is the country prepared for such enormities as these, or for the risk of their being attempted? We hope not: we think not. We feel assured that the very contemplation of their possibility, would make the nation rise in a mass, and eject the imbecile impostors who have already been so patiently tried, and so ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 59, No. 363, January, 1846 • Various

... cause, than all these, of the alleged evil, was the conduct of those imbecile princes, who, with heedless prodigality, squandered the public resources on their own personal pleasures and unworthy minions. The disastrous reigns of John the Second and Henry the Fourth, extending over the greater portion of the fifteenth century, furnish pertinent examples of ...
— History of the Reign of Ferdinand and Isabella V1 • William H. Prescott

... these delusions are necessary to keep us going—so did I and, as I believed, Leonora, imagine that the whole world ought to be arranged so as to ensure the keeping alive of heart patients. You have no idea how engrossing such a profession may become—how imbecile, in view of that engrossment, appear the ways of princes, of republics, of municipalities. A rough bit of road beneath the motor tyres, a couple of succeeding "thank'ee-marms" with their quick jolts ...
— The Good Soldier • Ford Madox Ford

... unknown to him. It may well be doubted whether he was aware that Sicily was an island, that Christopher Columbus had discovered America, or that the English were not Mahometans. In his youth, however, though too imbecile for study or for business, he was not incapable of being amused. He shot, hawked and hunted. He enjoyed with the delight of a true Spaniard two delightful spectacles, a horse with its bowels gored out, and ...
— The History of England from the Accession of James II. - Volume 5 (of 5) • Thomas Babington Macaulay

... the natural expression of their various owners, we at once decided that the case was a hopeless one. And when one night we picked him up out of the Union Ditch, a begrimed and weather-worn drunkard, a hopeless debtor, a self-confessed spendthrift, and a half-conscious, maudlin imbecile, we knew that the end had come. The wife he had abandoned had in turn deserted him; the woman he had misled had already realized her folly, and left him with her reproaches; the associates of his reckless ...
— Drift from Two Shores • Bret Harte

... dog, and bark for ever shamefully around lonely Cynossema. Young David ends as a dotard—Solomon as worse. Glorious Alexander must die, half of fever, half of drunkenness, as the fool dieth. Charles the Fifth, having thrown all away but his follies, ends in a convent, a superstitious imbecile; Napoleon squabbles to the last with Sir Hudson Lowe about champagne. It must be so; and the glory must be God's alone. For in great men, and great times, there is nothing good or vital but what is of God, and not of man's self; and when He taketh away that divine breath they die, and return ...
— Sir Walter Raleigh and his Time from - "Plays and Puritans and Other Historical Essays" • Charles Kingsley

... Noise ceased to be, within the shadow of the roof. The brass band that came into the street once a week, in the morning, never brayed a note in at those windows; but all such company, down to a poor little piping organ of weak intellect, with an imbecile party of automaton dancers, waltzing in and out at folding-doors, fell off from it with one accord, and shunned it ...
— Dombey and Son • Charles Dickens

... you doing here then? What d'you know about life? Nothing. Compromised! Then all your dreams of elevating humanity, all your ambitions, your career, the realization of yourself—you'll give up all that before you'll be what you describe by that stupid, imbecile, middle class word, compromised. When you shook yourself free of your family you behaved like a capable woman. Now you're behaving and thinking like a fashionable doll. Isn't that true? I appeal to your intelligence, to your mind, to everything in you that lifts you out of ...
— Woman on Her Own, False Gods & The Red Robe - Three Plays By Brieux • Eugene Brieux

... it up. He got at his little bit of mind through his senses. Honor to all the great arts! The limit to their beauty and their usefulness has never yet been found and never will. Painting was the golden key this thinker held to the Bramah lock of an imbecile's understanding the ponderous wards were beginning to revolve—when a blockhead came and did his ...
— It Is Never Too Late to Mend • Charles Reade

... majority!—of women don't know enough about politics to vote, and that a big percentage haven't brains enough to vote intelligently for a town dog catcher! And that if I had my way any woman who wanted to vote would be arrested and given six months in an imbecile asylum!" ...
— Mixed Faces • Roy Norton

... the imbecile," said Donadieu, "he took us for pirates, and wanted to sink us—as if we needed ...
— CELEBRATED CRIMES, COMPLETE - MURAT—1815 • ALEXANDRE DUMAS, PERE

... of those young persons—happily rare—who, when they take a strong antipathy, are true to it, even at the sacrifice of their own pleasure. In her secret soul, she was jealous of Mrs. Featherbrain. If she and Charley carried on their imbecile flirtation, at least it would not be ...
— A Terrible Secret • May Agnes Fleming

... He never acts on impulse, nor jumps without looking, nor commits himself rashly, nor loses the wind out of his sails. He is so overwhelmingly superior (sometimes he is a woman!) that in his presence you are a child of wrath, a hopeless imbecile, and a black sheep all in one, and yet—how you hate him and how you long to see some brave young David come along and hit him with a sling shot! Such a man as he, is fitted to bring the average human to the dust as quickly and as surely as a well aimed ...
— A String of Amber Beads • Martha Everts Holden

... the Imbecile, "Ah!" and his breath Comes heavy, as clogged with a weight; While, from the pale aspect of nature in death, He turns to the blaze of his grate; And nearer and nearer, his soft-cushioned chair Is wheeled toward the life-giving ...
— McGuffey's Fifth Eclectic Reader • William Holmes McGuffey

... on him; she was a truer Lampton than she ever suspected. "Oh, don't 'poor' me, Freddy! I can't bear it. It sounds as if I were half an imbecile, or as if Michael was a villain! I've got my wits all right—and Egypt has given me super-wits. It has shown me things beyond. If there is such a thing as conscience, then I should be sinning against mine if I doubted my lover for ...
— There was a King in Egypt • Norma Lorimer

... thousand—but he never even thought of saving the precious moments by driving the distance between instead of walking it. Montague Nevitt's personality still weighed down half his brain, and rendered his mind almost childish or imbecile. ...
— What's Bred In the Bone • Grant Allen

... Cottonwood, and saw the meeting of the Grand Council. He had Murrell arrested, and he was tried, convicted and sent to the Tennessee penitentiary in 1834 for ten years. There he worked in the blacksmith shops, but by the time he got out, was broken down in mind and body, emerging an imbecile and an invalid, to live less than ...
— The Story of the Outlaw - A Study of the Western Desperado • Emerson Hough

... grass bordering the road a face glided past the carriage at the level of the wheels as we drove slowly by. The imbecile face was red, and the bullet head with close-cropped hair seemed to lie alone, its chin in the dust. The body was lost in the bushes growing thick along the bottom of the ...
— Tales of Unrest • Joseph Conrad

... began: "Well, after referring to the word 'idiot' in the index, just to get a lead," I said, "I shall begin by saying that you are evidently a hebetudinous imbecile, an indiscriminate stult—" ...
— Olympian Nights • John Kendrick Bangs

... Bretonniere, who, in 1829, had gone there under a flag of truce to make a final proposal of terms of accommodation. So signal a violation of the laws of nations could not be overlooked, even by the imbecile administrations of Charles X. All France was in an uproar; the national flag had been dishonored, and her ambassador insulted; the cry for war became loud and universal; conferences on the subject were held; the oldest and most experienced mariners were invited by the minister at ...
— The Pirates Own Book • Charles Ellms

... directing the cannon of the fort against them, commanded submission. A skirmish ensued, and the seditious Kendall lost his life. A similar effort to the settlement was soon made by Captain Gabriel Archer and the imbecile President Ratcliffe, and again the decision of Smith arrested them and forced them to their duty. He was ever prompt, and hesitated not at any measures required to ...
— The Great Events by Famous Historians, Vol. 1-20 • Various

... their country, they have disdained too much the advice of wise counsillors. With eyes fixed upon their established purpose, they trample under foot every obstacle; and every man who differs from their opinion is but a traitor or an imbecile: hence their lack of moderation, tact and prudence, and their excess of obstinacy and violence. To select one example among a thousand, what marvellous results would have been attained by an entente cordiale between two men like ...
— The Makers of Canada: Bishop Laval • A. Leblond de Brumath

... opera had been judged superannuated and had been "improved." A young composer had written a new score in which he inserted here and there such bits of Gluck as he thought worthy of being preserved. A costly and magnificently imbecile luxuriousness set off the whole piece. I may be pardoned the cruel adjective when I say that in the scene of Hate, so deeply inspired, and which takes place in a sort of cave, they relegated the chorus to the wings to make a place for dragons, ...
— Musical Memories • Camille Saint-Saens

... perverseness which is often seen among women, she had placed her affections upon a youth who had distinguished himself by no valiant deeds in war, nor by industry or dexterity in the chase. His name had never reached the surrounding nations. His own nation knew him not, unless as a weak and imbecile man. He was poor in everything which constitutes the riches of Indian life. Who had heard the twanging of Karkapaha's bow in the retreat of the bear, or who had beheld the war-paint on his cheek or brow? Where were the scalps ...
— Folk-Lore and Legends: North American Indian • Anonymous

... de la Ferronays, and went to his villa (Mattei) afterwards. He has been perfect in this affair, full of prompt kindness; but what a Government! how imbecile, how superannuated!—a Minister of ninety almost, a sovereign of whom all that can be said is that he is a great canonist, and all that little bubbling and boiling of priestery and monkery, which is at once odious, mischievous, and contemptible, ...
— The Greville Memoirs - A Journal of the Reigns of King George IV and King William - IV, Volume 1 (of 3) • Charles C. F. Greville

... tell the imbecile that Your Highness will not see him," responded Glueck, impassively, his hand ...
— Affairs of State • Burton E. Stevenson

... is a failure! Drop into the greenroom then and you will find an astonishing change has taken place. The Star will take you into a corner and assert that, she "always knew the thing could not go, it was too imbecile, with such a company, it was folly to expect anything else." The author will abuse the Star and the management. The whole troupe is frankly disconcerted, like people aroused out of a hypnotic sleep, wondering what they had seen in ...
— Worldly Ways and Byways • Eliot Gregory

... the streets, if that were possible, through those days of riot and conflagration, observe the materials gathered into the vast, moving multitudes, and scrutinize the faces of those of whom they were composed,—deformed, idiotic, drunken, imbecile, poverty-stricken; seamed with every line which wretchedness could draw or vicious habits and associations delve. To walk these streets and look upon these faces was like a fearful witnessing in perspective of the last day, when the secrets of life, more loathsome than those of death, shall ...
— What Answer? • Anna E. Dickinson

... science of Homoeopathy, to which you are asked to trust your lives and the lives of those dearest to you. A mingled mass of perverse ingenuity, of tinsel erudition, of imbecile credulity, and of artful misrepresentation, too often mingled in practice, if we may trust the authority of its founder, with heartless and shameless imposition. Because it is suffered so often to appeal unanswered ...
— The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table • Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (The Physician and Poet not the Jurist)

... A sudden light broke in upon the meeting. It was unanimously resolved, that a deputation of old ladies should wait upon a celebrated orator, imploring his assistance, and the favour of a speech; and the deputation should also wait on two or three other imbecile old women, not resident in the parish, and entreat their attendance. The application was successful, the meeting was held; the orator (an Irishman) came. He talked of green isles—other shores—vast Atlantic—bosom of the deep—Christian charity—blood and extermination—mercy ...
— Sketches by Boz - illustrative of everyday life and every-day people • Charles Dickens

... be—always in good spirits, always ready to do anything, but Peter noticed that it was only when Clare was present that Cards changed from jest to earnest. "He thinks Clare worth talking to seriously.... I suppose it's because he was at Dawson's ... but after all I'm not an imbecile." ...
— Fortitude • Hugh Walpole

... you are, for a collegian! Ingrate! good-for-nothing! vagabond! I began to think you were not coming. Where have you been, imbecile? How dare you delay, as if you had no interest in the matter, when the salt of the earth is melting for you, and the sum ...
— Pepita Ximenez • Juan Valera

... to have a quick eye for the characteristics of horses, and could walk round a proffered animal and scan his points with the best. "What," he would ask, of a given beast, "makes him let his lower lip hang down in that imbecile manner?" ...
— Buying a Horse • William Dean Howells

... forgot You had a son? All shall be well, my father.' He paid off all the liabilities, And found himself without three thousand dollars Out of a fortune of at least a million. What shall we call him, imbecile or saint? His plan is now to set up as a teacher. Of such a teacher let each thrifty father Beware, or he may see his only son Turn out a poor enthusiast,—perhaps— Who knows?—an advocate of ...
— The Woman Who Dared • Epes Sargent

... to think that it was an unselfish desire to spare my companions anxiety that made me keep my discovery to myself. But I am afraid that my reticence was due far more to the fact that I shrank from letting the Nugget discover my imbecile carelessness. Even in times of peril one retains one's human weaknesses; and I felt that I could not face his comments. If he had permitted a certain note of querulousness to creep into his conversation already, the imagination ...
— The Little Nugget • P.G. Wodehouse

... indicated, our watering-place has none. There are a few old used-up boatmen who creep about in the sunlight with the help of sticks, and there is a poor imbecile shoemaker who wanders his lonely life away among the rocks, as if he were looking for his reason - which he will never find. Sojourners in neighbouring watering-places come occasionally in flys to stare at us, and drive away again as if they thought us very dull; Italian boys ...
— Reprinted Pieces • Charles Dickens

... "I've a heap of critics and a lot of enemies. Some good men say I've no experience in Government, and that's about true. Up in New England the papers are asking who is this political huckster, this county court advocate? Mr. Stanton says I'm an imbecile, and when he's cross calls me the original gorilla, and wonders why fools wander about in Africa when they could find the beast they are looking for in Washington. The pious everywhere don't like me, because I don't hold that national policy ...
— The Path of the King • John Buchan

... suddenly passionately angry with herself. It seemed to her that the days of childishness were back. She was behaving like an imbecile whilst he ...
— The Zeppelin's Passenger • E. Phillips Oppenheim

... toes I have ever seen!" cried Antoinette in imbecile admiration. She has bewitched that ...
— The Morals of Marcus Ordeyne • William J. Locke

... thing of which the average Russian had no conception; and therefore it is not strange that Catharine, with her intense and sensitive nature, should have turned to some of these for the love which she had sought in vain from the half imbecile to whom ...
— Famous Affinities of History, Vol 1-4, Complete - The Romance of Devotion • Lyndon Orr

... dear," he said, gazing at his wife in a manner that might well have justified the black sheep's thought, "screwed," "I—I— business kept me in the office very late, and then—" He cast an imbecile glance at the bundle. ...
— Dusty Diamonds Cut and Polished - A Tale of City Arab Life and Adventure • R.M. Ballantyne

... "That's easy. You've got brains, Nance, and the most imbecile thing you could do just now, when your foot is already on the ladder, would be just this—to get off in order to pick up a trinket out of the mud, when there's a fortune up at the top waiting for you. Clever people don't do asinine things. ...
— In the Bishop's Carriage • Miriam Michelson

... heaven knows, the prophetic soul of the chief was unhappily assured that Crailey would offer himself as escort to her home, and find acceptance. But why not? Was it Crailey who had publicly called his fellow-man fool, idiot, imbecile, at the top of his lungs, only to find himself the proven numskull of the universe! Tom stood for a moment staring after the vanishing pair, while over his face stole the strangest expression that ever man saw there; then, with meekly bowed ...
— The Two Vanrevels • Booth Tarkington

... a formal declaration; what must come would come. "I was an imbecile," she spoke in a voice at once listless and touched with bitterness; "Arcadia," she laughed. "I thought it was different here, that you were different; that feeling in my heart—but it's gone now, dead. I suppose I should thank you. But, do you know, I regret it; I would rather have stayed ...
— The Three Black Pennys - A Novel • Joseph Hergesheimer

... land—from France to Germany, from Germany to Belgium—they had picked up some scanty instruction, many bad habits, losing every notion even of the first elements of religion and morals, and acquiring an imbecile indifference to every sentiment that can elevate humanity; they were distinguishable by an habitual look of sullen dejection, the result of crushed self-respect and constant browbeating from their Popish fellow-pupils, who hated them as English, and ...
— The Professor • (AKA Charlotte Bronte) Currer Bell

... can move to anything but a more assiduous pursuit of both arts. Indeed, by my late firmness, I have brought down his affected loftiness, and he begins to think I have some genius: as if genius and assurance were the same thing! But his imbecile attempts to depress me only deserve laughter. I say thus much to you, knowing that you will not make a bad use of it. But it is a fact too true that, if I had only depended on mortal things, both myself and my wife must have been lost. I shall leave ...
— Selected English Letters (XV - XIX Centuries) • Various

... Then the passion of grief let itself loose, and Diane cried, "And why not? Where else should he go? He belongs to me. Why do you stand there like an imbecile? Take him at once. Oh, Jack, Jack, why don't you speak? Oh, take him quickly! You said he would bleed to death. He isn't dead? No, tell me he ...
— The Night Riders - A Romance of Early Montana • Ridgwell Cullum

... engagements against the future, party on party, dances on suppers and suppers on plays; to dine every evening at some place where they hadn't dined before; to meet lots of nice amusing people with demobilised minds who wouldn't talk to him about the war; to let himself go in bursts of exquisitely imbecile laughter; never to be quiet for an hour, never to be alone with himself, never to be long ...
— Anne Severn and the Fieldings • May Sinclair

... minister. He died on the 23rd of January, 1806, and was succeeded in the government by Mr. Fox, the same statesman who had, throughout every variety of fortune, arraigned his conduct of the war as imbecile and absurd, and who all along professed his belief that in the original quarrel between Great Britain and revolutionised France, the blame lay with his own country, and above all ...
— The History of Napoleon Buonaparte • John Gibson Lockhart

... strangest roads to the feeling of superiority. From that classical imbecile who burnt down the Temple of Diana to the crop of young girls who invent tales of white slavery in order to stand in the public eye as conspicuous victims, notoriety has been mistaken for fame by those desperate for public attention. To be superior ...
— The Foundations of Personality • Abraham Myerson

... which Spain gained enough honour to satisfy the proudest of her sons. The French had entered Madrid under pretence of being Spain's allies against Portugal, and Murat, once settled there to his own perfect satisfaction, made no secret of his master's intention to annex the whole peninsula. The imbecile King, Charles IV., had abdicated; his son, Ferdinand VII., was practically a captive in France. The country had, in fact, been sold to Napoleon, neither more nor less, by the infamous Godoy, ...
— Spanish Life in Town and Country • L. Higgin and Eugene E. Street

... eyelashes lowered—I dare say Jasper Allen did, being a privileged person—but I have no doubt that the expression must have been charming in a complex way. She could—Jasper told me once with a touchingly imbecile exultation—sit on her hair. I dare say, I dare say. It was not for me to behold these wonders; I was content to admire the neat and becoming way she used to do it up so as not to conceal the good shape of her head. And this wealth of hair was so glossy that when the screens of the west verandah ...
— 'Twixt Land & Sea • Joseph Conrad

... only, the following night, I saw Clarimonde. She said to me, as she had said the first time at the portals of the church: 'Unhappy man! Unhappy man! What hast thou done? Wherefore have hearkened to that imbecile priest? Wert thou not happy? And what harm had I ever done thee that thou shouldst violate my poor tomb, and lay bare the miseries of my nothingness? All communication between our souls and our bodies is henceforth for ever broken. Adieu! ...
— Clarimonde • Theophile Gautier

... the best part of life—that he has deliberately turned his back on all that makes our existence here worth having. I should call him a fool, but that one so dislikes having an imbecile in ...
— A Little Rebel • Mrs. Hungerford

... quaint imbecile I am. Or rather, was. In my effort to emancipate myself from life, I succeeded only in handing myself over to my senses. And my senses, I perceive, belong not to me but to the procreative principles of biology. They have ...
— Fantazius Mallare - A Mysterious Oath • Ben Hecht

... to shake hands with Virtue, I have found her shivering in a loft, persecuted by calumny, half-starving on a income or a salary of fifteen hundred francs a year, and regarded as crazy, or eccentric, or imbecile. ...
— The Commission in Lunacy • Honore de Balzac

... never injures any creature, has no fear of coming back to this world, far less, any fear in respect of the others.[463] There is only one fault in self-control. No second fault is noticeable in it. A person who has self-control is regarded by men as weak and imbecile. O thou of great wisdom, this attribute has only one fault. Its merits are many. By forgiveness (which is only another form of self-control), the man of self-control may easily acquire innumerable worlds. What need has ...
— The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 3 - Books 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 • Unknown

... beyond such simple cure. The overtasked brain was giving way, and though there were from time to time such capricious changes in her condition as led Jan to hope she was better, she became more and more imbecile to the ...
— Jan of the Windmill • Juliana Horatia Ewing

... Prodigies (according to Nic. Gregoras, p. 460) announced the departure of the old and imbecile Imperial Monk ...
— The History of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire - Volume 6 • Edward Gibbon

... character and determination and was willing to assume responsibility, and "Hodson's Horse," as the volunteer battalion was called, were the Rough Riders of the Indian mutiny. He took the aged king back to Delhi and delivered him to the British authorities alive, but almost imbecile from terror and excitement. The two princes, 19 and 22 years of age, he deliberately shot with his own revolver before leaving the courtyard of the tomb in which ...
— Modern India • William Eleroy Curtis

... "An imbecile without friends and twelve bajocchi in his pocket," he muttered, savagely. "Perhaps the night without food will restore his senses. Come, fool!" and he roughly pushed me into a dark little chamber adjoining. "Here, ...
— Stories By English Authors: Italy • Various

... enraptured at the profundity of my thoughts. After years of unquestioning humility I enjoyed a prolonged debauch of intellectual pride, and I marvelled at the little boy of yesterday who had wept because he could not be an imbecile. It was the apotheosis of the ugly duckling, and I saw my swan's plumage reflected in the placid faces of the boys around me, as in the vacant waters of a pool. As yet I did not dream of a moulting season, still ...
— The Ghost Ship • Richard Middleton

... have spread the story, with shrug and smirk, That the artist ne'er does a stroke of work; And so let him suffer, the imbecile! Be you silent! 'Tis you, I think, When the Cigale pierces the vine to drink, Drive her away, her drink to steal; And when she is ...
— Social Life in the Insect World • J. H. Fabre

... acquainted with her. Not only was she the only sister of my dear Philippe, but the Marquis, her uncle, was her guardian and only near relative, so that he had a right to insist, more especially as the old Countess was imbecile and bedridden. ...
— Stray Pearls • Charlotte M. Yonge

... don't stop rocking your body in that inane way, and shaking your hand and your handkerchief, and saying those imbecile things, I shall go mad. I suppose this is the kind of sympathy a man gets from a woman in ...
— Trumps • George William Curtis

... in power at Paris had as yet shown no organizing capacity. The administration of the War Department by "papa" Pache had been a masterpiece of imbecile knavery which infuriated Dumouriez and his half-starving troops. We have heard much of the blunders of British Ministers in this war; but even at their worst they never sank to the depths revealed in the correspondence of Dumouriez with Pache. In truth, both Powers began the war ...
— William Pitt and the Great War • John Holland Rose

... You're both great pirates: pray be merciful to your neighbors, and spare me my Independence. Your little place down there is become troubled with wars and rumours of wars;—the shedding of innocent blood in streams at the caprice of imbecile princes, who make the bones and blood of their subjects the waste material with which to serve their incarnate ambition, tells me to beware. Beware of ambitious princes; the world would be well rid ...
— The Adventures of My Cousin Smooth • Timothy Templeton

... "infallibility" of the Church. The only great spiritual power that could have interposed to prevent the outbreak of the World War was the papacy. Pope Pius X had his Nuncio admonish the Austrian emperor, but he failed even to get an audition from that old imbecile. The next Pope, Benedict XV, was under the influence of a majority of pro-German cardinals. He strove to remain neutral. He attempted to solace the Belgians with words, but he did not reprove the murderous invaders. He protested against ...
— The Necessity of Atheism • Dr. D.M. Brooks

... No, of course you're not. No tour would be imbecile enough to touch here. The question is: How ...
— The Unspeakable Perk • Samuel Hopkins Adams

... therefore, that Lord de Versely did not neglect your interests. The de Versely property he could not leave you, but he did what he could in your favour. This will was signed, sealed, and attested, and is now in my possession; and as the old lady is very shakey, and something approaching to imbecile, I considered that in a short time I should have to congratulate you upon your succession to this fine property, which is a ...
— Percival Keene • Frederick Marryat

... interpretation appeared the more reasonable—as he now became aware that the women and children were left almost to their own protection; for the house was in a lonely situation; and all the men of the family were abroad, except an imbecile grey-beard whom one of the young women addressed as her grandfather. All fears however, Bertram flattered himself, should have been dispersed immediately by his appearance and the gentleness of his demeanour: much therefore ...
— Walladmor: - And Now Freely Translated from the German into English. - In Two Volumes. Vol. II. • Thomas De Quincey

... he suddenly, as if answering the voices which whispered in his soul; "that would be an imbecile, miserable resort, and, moreover, we would not obtain our object; ho would not be humiliated, but a martyr's crown would be added to his laurels. When, however, ho is completely humbled, when, to this great victory at Hochkirch, we add new triumphs, when we have taken Silesia and revenged ...
— Frederick The Great and His Family • L. Muhlbach

... antagonist may be in a tighter," Bell chuckled. "And if the man gets well and that brain injury proves permanent—I mean if the man is rendered imbecile—why, we are only at the very threshold of the mystery. It seems a callous thing to say, but this is the prettiest problem I ...
— The Crimson Blind • Fred M. White

... and her palace, thirty feet front. Where were their heads, and their hearts, and their arms? How looks this craven despondency, before the stern virtues of the ages we call dark? When a man is so voluntarily imbecile as to regret he is not rich, if that is what he wants, before he has struck a blow for wealth; or so dastardly as to renounce the prospect of love, because, sitting sighing, in velvet dressing-gown and slippers, he does not see his way clear to ten thousand a year: when young ...
— The Wit and Humor of America, Volume II. (of X.) • Various

... will. I will be a stick, a dolt. I will be as unlike what God intended me to be as possible. I will be just what your father and Aunt Hester and you want me to be. I will let them think for me and save my soul. I am too much an imbecile to attempt to work out my own salvation. No, Elizabeth, I will not play ball any more. I can imagine the horrified commotion it caused among the angels when they looked down and saw me pitching. When I get back to school ...
— The Uncalled - A Novel • Paul Laurence Dunbar

... with outstretched arms two of the squatter party, his hands tightly grasping their collars. Yet I believe his touch was as gentle as with the violets. His face was preternaturally grave; theirs, to my intense astonishment, while they hung passive from his arms, wore that fatuous, imbecile smile seen on the faces of those who lend themselves to tricks of acrobats and strong men in the arena. He slowly traversed the whole length of one side of the house, walked down the steps to the gate, and then gravely deposited them ...
— Stories in Light and Shadow • Bret Harte

... fervent remorse was unheeded, his letters were sent back unopened, he was denied the door. Presently, the aged mother died. Then the infant. Lastly, the wife herself. Now, says Diderot to his interlocutor, I pray you to turn your eyes to the public—that imbecile crowd that pronounces judgment on us, that disposes of our honour, that lifts us to the clouds or trails us through the mud. Opinion passed through every phase about Desroches. The shifting event is ever their one measure of praise and blame. A fault which nobody thought more ...
— Diderot and the Encyclopaedists - Volume II. • John Morley

... of the wider kind. Men debated whether she had a soul, made cynical proverbs about her, called her the "weaker vessel," and debarred her from political and economic equality, classing her up to this very moment in rights with the idiot, the imbecile, and the criminal. Worse than this, they gave her a spurious homage, created a lop-sided chivalry, and caused her to accept as her ideal goal of womanhood the achievement of beauty and the entrance into wifehood. After they tied her hand and foot with restrictions and belittling ...
— The Nervous Housewife • Abraham Myerson

... drug her face changed; the muscles loosened, the flesh sagged, the widened, swollen mouth hung open; only the broad beautiful forehead, the beautiful calm eyebrows were the same; the face, sallow white, half imbecile, was a mask flung aside. She couldn't bear to look at it; it wasn't her mother's face; her mother had died already under the morphia. She had a shock every time she came in and found ...
— Life and Death of Harriett Frean • May Sinclair

... to repeat two or three times things that Germinie had always grasped on the merest hint. She asked herself, when she saw how slow and torpid she was, if somebody had not exchanged her maid for another.—"Why, you're getting to be a perfect imbecile!" she would sometimes say to her testily. She remembered the time when Germinie was so useful about finding dates, writing an address on a card, telling her what day they had put in the wood or broached the cask of wine,—all of which ...
— Germinie Lacerteux • Edmond and Jules de Goncourt

... imagine that I shall be imbecile enough to expose myself in so reckless a fashion as to render that probable?" he returned. "No! If I fight, it will be for life, not for glory, therefore I shall take every reasonable precaution ...
— Under the Meteor Flag - Log of a Midshipman during the French Revolutionary War • Harry Collingwood

... of those truly unfortunate cases which, so far as present knowledge goes, cannot be guarded against. Eunice, age 31, mentally 2, is a low-grade imbecile. There is not in the whole family, for generations back, a single case of feeble-mindedness, nor of disease that would undermine the nervous organization. Close scrutiny does not reveal a single assignable cause. She came, as an accident, to ...
— The Eugenic Marriage, Volume IV. (of IV.) - A Personal Guide to the New Science of Better Living and Better Babies • Grant Hague

... he's splendid—like the picture of the young David in the Bible." "Then there's something wrong. Does he cough?" "His health seems perfect." "Which proves conclusively that he cherishes a secret feeling. For a man to go twenty-six years without falling in love means that he's either a saint or an imbecile, my dear; and for my part, I declare I don't know which character sits worse upon a gentleman. Can it be one of the Morrisons, do you think? The youngest girl used to be considered something of a beauty by the family; though she was always too ...
— The Deliverance; A Romance of the Virginia Tobacco Fields • Ellen Glasgow

... Forbidden, by inviolably sacred laws, from intermarrying with any persons but those of their own caste, they had here dwindled down, in the course of many centuries, to a few insignificant individuals, diminutive in stature, and imbecile in intellect. They were, nevertheless, held in high veneration and affection by the whole Iximayan community, probably as living specimens of an antique race so nearly extinct. Their position, as an ...
— Memoir of an Eventful Expedition in Central America • Pedro Velasquez

... bombastic and ludicrous, sounded silly enough to provoke a shrug of the shoulders, sounded like one of those sentences which only an imbecile or a lunatic could utter. And yet Valenglay remained impassive. He knew that, in such circumstances as the present, the man before him was not the ...
— The Teeth of the Tiger • Maurice Leblanc

... voice breaking. "What! A half-breed aspire to a Cortez!" She forgot her husband's separateness with true Californian pride. "My daughter and the son of an Indian! Holy God! And she has dared!—she has dared! The little imbecile! The little—But," and she gave a furious laugh, "she ...
— The Splendid Idle Forties - Stories of Old California • Gertrude Atherton

... close there now," my friend remarked. "This fellow Merryweather is a bank director, and personally interested in the matter. I thought it as well to have Jones with us also. He is not a bad fellow, though an absolute imbecile in his profession. He has one positive virtue. He is as brave as a bulldog and as tenacious as a lobster if he gets his claws upon anyone. Here we are, and they are waiting ...
— The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

... an event which he has recorded in a very beautiful sonnet. This loss, added to his blindness, must have made his home, for some years, desolate and comfortless. Distress, indeed, was now gathering rapidly upon him. The death of Cromwell, in the following year, and the imbecile character of his eldest son, held out an invitation to the aspiring intriguers of the day, which they were not slow to improve. It soon became too evident to Milton's discernment that all things were hurrying forward to restoration of the ejected family. Sensible of the risk, therefore, and without ...
— Great Men and Famous Women, Vol. 7 of 8 • Charles F. (Charles Francis) Horne

... Channel Island, regarding the whole affair as an infringement of the Rights of Man, sets the petroleum alight. Michael, the celestial being who had appeared in the first chapter and disappeared at the end of it, is dragged out of a cell in an imbecile condition. Lucifer comes down in his airship to collect the doctors, whose bodies he drops out, a little later on. The buildings vanish in the flames, the keepers bolt, the inmates talk about their souls. MacIan is ...
— G. K. Chesterton, A Critical Study • Julius West

... favourite. But Matilda was watched by unfriendly eyes. Juliana Maria, the queen-dowager, had from her first arrival taken a dislike to her, and this aversion was increased when she saw that Matilda, Struensee, and Brandt, a young nobleman, exercised complete authority over the imbecile monarch, and directed the affairs of government at their pleasure. The queen-dowager had numerous and powerful friends, and these were likewise incensed at seeing Struensee at the head of the government, and a strong party was formed against him; ...
— The History of England in Three Volumes, Vol.III. - From George III. to Victoria • E. Farr and E. H. Nolan

... be mad, but merely extreme. Certainly he would not be mad if nobody but a botanist could see it was a tree. Certainly his enemies might be madder than he, if nobody but a lamplighter could see it was not a lamp-post. And similarly a man is not imbecile if only a Eugenist thinks so. The question then raised would not be his sanity, but the sanity of one botanist or one lamplighter or one Eugenist. That which can condemn the abnormally foolish is not the abnormally clever, which is obviously ...
— Eugenics and Other Evils • G. K. Chesterton

... a race which elsewhere has so immemorially plundered hen-roosts that chickens are as free to it as the air it breathes, without any conceivable taint of private ownership. But the spirit of New England had so deeply entered into him that the imbecile broiler of another, slain by pure accident and by its own contributory negligence, was saddening him, while I was off in my train without a pang for the owner and with only an agreeable ...
— Henry James, Jr. • William Dean Howells

... excellent dancers. Members of different families, they are nevertheless fearfully and wonderfully like each other. They present the same rosy complexions and straw-colored mustachios, the same plump cheeks, vacant eyes and low forehead; and they utter, with the same stolid gravity, the same imbecile small talk. On sofas facing each other sit the two remaining guests, who have not joined the elders at the card-table in another room. They are both men. One of them is drowsy and middle-aged—happy in the possession of large landed property: happier still in a ...
— I Say No • Wilkie Collins

... forbear, I knew so well what I thought. Mr. G——'s Wordsworthianism, however, is excellent; his beautiful simplicity of taste, and love of truth, have preserved him from any touch of that vague and imbecile enthusiasm, which has enervated almost all the exclusive and determined admirers of the great poet whom I have known in these parts. His reverence, his feeling, are thoroughly intelligent. Everything in his mind is well defined; and his horror of the vague, and false, nay, ...
— Memoirs of Margaret Fuller Ossoli, Vol. I • Margaret Fuller Ossoli

... himself for this, but then he never blamed himself for anything. A fate, often drunken and always imbecile, was to blame for everything that he did, and he pitied himself sincerely for having to be in the hands of such a creature. He happened to be just now very considerably frightened about himself, more ...
— The Captives • Hugh Walpole

... and beautiful; he is wretched; he is tormented; he wills; he suffers; for to will is to suffer. Yes, I am jealous. I know what there is in my jealousy. When I examine it, I find in it hereditary prejudices, savage conceit, sickly susceptibility, a mingling of rudest violence and cruel feebleness, imbecile and wicked revolt against the laws of life and of society. But it does not matter that I know it for what it is: it exists and it torments me. I am the chemist who, studying the properties of an acid which he has ...
— Serge Panine • Georges Ohnet

... the stars, and fix his net to catch the sun, and regulate their indiscreet shining. Darkness and silence are excellent for knaves and tyrants; but the attempt to command the one or the other in the North, changes the knave to an imbecile and the tyrant to ...
— Conflict of Northern and Southern Theories of Man and Society - Great Speech, Delivered in New York City • Henry Ward Beecher

... anybody to get it for him. He just wrote things, things that he thought were adequately imbecile, and shot them into letter-boxes. As to what became of them, Tanqueray had never seen anybody more unsolicitous, more reckless ...
— The Creators - A Comedy • May Sinclair

... passive, a mere worm, organised to feel sensations of pain, but no emotion of resentment? Didst thou imagine that there was no danger in inflicting on me pains however great, miseries however dreadful? Didst thou believe me impotent, imbecile, and idiot-like, with no understanding to contrive thy ruin, and ...
— Caleb Williams - Things As They Are • William Godwin

... time her features will remain as regular, her figure as plump, as before; but the mind will be gone, and with it everything that could make a man fall in love with her. Who has ever heard of a beautiful idiot, of anyone falling in love with an imbecile? The vacant stare, the absence of intellect, make beauty and love alike impossible in such ...
— Primitive Love and Love-Stories • Henry Theophilus Finck

... inquired Moses in a low tone. The professor awoke mentally, recognised the situation, smiled an imbecile smile, and sank back again on his pillow with a ...
— Blown to Bits - The Lonely Man of Rakata, the Malay Archipelago • R.M. Ballantyne

... Who comes imbecile to the world 'mid double danger, groans, and tears; The toy, the sport, the waif and stray of ...
— The Kasidah of Haji Abdu El-Yezdi • Richard F. Burton

... heroic I am trying of two evils to choose the least. I should like to have my uncle—and Helen here immensely. But if the visit wasn't a success I should be proportionately disappointed and vexed. So is it worth the risk? Disappointments are sufficiently abundant anyhow. Isn't it slightly imbecile to run a wholly gratuitous risk ...
— The History of Sir Richard Calmady - A Romance • Lucas Malet

... Republic. I walked through the streets, and the crackers and flags amused me like a child. Still it is very foolish to be merry on a fixed date, by a Government decree. The populace is an imbecile flock of sheep, now steadily patient, and now in ferocious revolt. Say to it: "Amuse yourself," and it amuses itself. Say to it: "Go and fight with your neighbour," and it goes and fights. Say to it: "Vote for the Emperor," and it votes for the Emperor, ...
— Masterpieces of Mystery, Vol. 1 (of 4) - Ghost Stories • Various

... partridge. By the Body and the Blood, by the Censer and the Seal, by the Book and the Sword, by the Rag and the Gold, by the Sound and the Colour, if thou does but return once into that hovel of elegies where eunuchs find ugly women for imbecile sultans, I'll curse thee; I'll rave at thee; I'll make thee fast from ...
— Droll Stories, Volume 3 • Honore de Balzac

... the sloping stone jetty among the crowd of Arab porters and Europeans and watched the vessel waddle in. Lola and I, catching sight of each other at the same time, waved handkerchiefs in an imbecile manner, and when the vessel came alongside, and during the tedious process of mooring, we regarded each other with photographic smiles. She was wearing a squirrel coat and a toque of the same fur, and she looked more ...
— Simon the Jester • William J. Locke

... imbecile, that he had not thought the voice of the man who bid him enter was that of Phillis's brother? Was he so profoundly overwhelmed that such a simple reasoning was impossible to him? Decidedly, it was important for him to go away as quickly as possible; the ...
— Serge Panine • Georges Ohnet

... inimical to man's progress—such spirits assume an infinite number of shapes, agreeable and otherwise; or they may be phantasms of dead human beings—vicious and carnal-minded people, idiots, and imbecile epileptics. It is an old belief that the souls of cataleptic and epileptic people, during the body's unconsciousness, adjourned temporarily to animals, and it is therefore only in keeping with such a view to suggest that on the deaths of such people their spirits take permanently the form of animals. ...
— Werwolves • Elliott O'Donnell

... sister on board, whom he faithfully neglected throughout the voyage, though she was not only sick, but much his senior, and had nursed and cared for him in childhood. In appearance he was like an imbecile Henry the Third of France. The Scotsman, though perhaps as big an ass, was not so dead of heart; and I have only bracketed them together because they were fast friends, and disgraced themselves equally by their conduct ...
— The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition - Vol. 2 (of 25) • Robert Louis Stevenson

... in the imbecile voice of a man in love, "why do you tremble so when I am here to protect you? Don't ...
— Police!!! • Robert W. Chambers

... with you by allowing this letter business. If I had my way I'd make you speak here and now. As it is, you either sit down and write the letter at citizen Chauvelin's dictation at once, or I send you with that impudent brother of yours and your imbecile father to jail, on a charge of treason against the State, for aiding and abetting the enemies of the Republic; and you know what the consequences of such a charge usually are. The other two brats will go to a House of Correction, there to be detained during the pleasure of the Committee ...
— The League of the Scarlet Pimpernel • Baroness Orczy

... man with his extra thumb, two persons in the town each had an extra toe upon one foot. We have already stated that the presidente of the village was a fool. He had plenty of companions. One of the men, who made himself quite useful to us was an imbecile; he crossed himself, kissed our hands, nodded his head, and told us the most surprising things in regard to the subjects whom he brought before us. In connection with each case he cried and carried on at a great rate, and finally insisted that ...
— In Indian Mexico (1908) • Frederick Starr

... come not from outside happenings but from some defect in a person's mind and body are often the subject of euphemisms. In Scotland a person who is quite an imbecile will be described as an "innocent"—a milder way of saying the same thing. Insane and crazy were originally euphemisms for mad, but now have come to be equally unpleasant descriptions. So for drunken ...
— Stories That Words Tell Us • Elizabeth O'Neill

... stamping and the other tripping daintily, who effectually mimic the late partners of the dance in the most heartless manner. Another of these hideous creatures is sitting down, his head covered with a dirty rag, staring, stuttering, and mumbling, like an imbecile. His pantomime is recognized at once as a cruel mimicry of the chief penitent while at prayer, and it is universally pronounced to be a superb performance. To the Koshare nothing is sacred; all things are permitted, so long as they contribute ...
— The Delight Makers • Adolf Bandelier

... in front of the house; came into the yard; came and sang just under Cora's window. There it fell silent a moment; then was lifted in a long peal of imbecile laughter, and sang again: ...
— The Flirt • Booth Tarkington

... one thing which my uncle has said. Whether he will be a true prophet or no I cannot tell. His words are these, and they were spoken to M. de Montcalm: 'You are safe now, for England is governed by an imbecile—the Duke of Newcastle—a minister without parts, understanding, or courage. But there is another man in England of a different calibre. If ever you hear that Pitt is at the head of the administration, then ...
— French and English - A Story of the Struggle in America • Evelyn Everett-Green



Words linked to "Imbecile" :   imbecility, simple, retarded, mongoloid, simpleton



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