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Imbecility   Listen
noun
Imbecility  n.  (pl. imbecilities)  The quality of being imbecile; weakness; feebleness, esp. of mind. "Cruelty... argues not only a depravedness of nature, but also a meanness of courage and imbecility of mind." Note: This term is used specifically to denote natural weakness of the mental faculties, affecting one's power to act reasonably or intelligently.
Synonyms: Debility; infirmity; weakness; feebleness; impotence. See Debility.






Collaborative International Dictionary of English 0.48








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"Imbecility" Quotes from Famous Books



... that the Congress was a comedy; anyone who will satisfy himself as to what Russia was really anxious to obtain, and then look at the Salisbury-Schouvaloff treaty, will see that, thanks to Beaconsfield's imbecility, Schouvaloff obtained one of the most signal diplomatic triumphs that was ever won. {27} A sound entente between Russia and England he thought both possible and desirable; but conceived it to be rendered ...
— Biographical Study of A. W. Kinglake • Rev. W. Tuckwell

... N. impotence; inability, disability; disablement, impuissance, imbecility; incapacity, incapability; inaptitude, ineptitude, incompetence, unproductivity[obs3]; indocility[obs3]; invalidity, disqualification; inefficiency, wastefulness. telum imbelle[Lat], brutum fulmen[Lat], blank, blank cartridge, flash in the pan, vox et proeterea nihil[Lat], ...
— Roget's Thesaurus

... mind. It was not Wiggins, for he kept himself in strict seclusion; and people who went to stare at the gates of Dalton Park found nothing for their pains. It could not have been the vicar, for his terror had reduced him to a state of simple imbecility. There was some other cause, and that cause seemed ...
— The Living Link • James De Mille

... to some extent from hopeless drudgery, to give them leisure, to provide them with tastes and interests; and further still, to contrive, if possible, that human beings shall not be born into the world of tainted parentage, and thus to stamp out the tyranny of disease and imbecility and criminal instinct. More and more does it become clear that all the off-scourings and failures of civilisation are the outcome of diseased brains and nerves, and that self-control and vigour are the results ...
— Joyous Gard • Arthur Christopher Benson

... on the continent, and the weakness of Austria and Prussia, mixed up with no inconsiderable amount of indecision and duplicity, are freely commented upon in letters from Mr. Grenville and Lord Malmesbury. Want of power, and want of will—fear, hesitation, and imbecility—were so conspicuous in the conduct of these Courts, as to destroy all confidence in their professions. The character drawn by Lord Malmesbury of the King of Prussia—which the reader will find confirmed in the subsequent communications of Mr. Grenville—shows how little reliance, under ...
— Memoirs of the Court and Cabinets of George the Third, Volume 2 (of 2) - From the Original Family Documents • The Duke of Buckingham

... peaceful disciples of Fox. Their disciplined habits, both of mind and body, had endowed them with great physical perfection; and the eye of the veteran was apt to scan the fair proportions and athletic frames of the colonists with a look that seemed to utter volumes of contempt for their moral imbecility, He was also a little addicted to the expression of a belief that, where there was so great an observance of the externals of religion, there could not be much of the substance. It is not our task to explain what is or what ought to be the substance of Christianity, but merely to record ...
— The Pioneers • James Fenimore Cooper

... deliberation of the mind, whereby one intends to put oneself under an obligation. That such an obligation be of no force may happen in two ways. First, through defect of reason, as in madmen and imbeciles, who cannot bind themselves by vow so long as they remain in a state of madness or imbecility. Secondly, through the maker of a vow being subject to another's power, as stated above (A. 8). Now these two circumstances concur in children before the age of puberty, because in most instances they are lacking in reason, and besides ...
— Summa Theologica, Part II-II (Secunda Secundae) • Thomas Aquinas

... as to plants kept in a hot-house, a change of air meant death. And so, when the grating was broken down one morning, they knew with a shudder that they were free. The effect produced by the Revolution upon their simple souls is easy to imagine; it produced a temporary imbecility not natural to them. They could not bring the ideas learned in the convent into harmony with life and its difficulties; they could not even understand their own position. They were like children whom mothers ...
— An Episode Under the Terror • Honore de Balzac

... wag a tongue against their sister-in-law, when, at the expiration of her year of widowhood, she wrote to them, to announce her "re-engagement" to Frederic Chilton. She had been a faithful wife to their brother in sickness and imbecility; a ministering angel to their parent, and there was now no tie to bind her to their interest. They had a way of taking care of themselves, and it was not surprising if ...
— At Last • Marion Harland

... Loftus, and the previous one of General Fawcet, circumstantially illustrate the puerile imbecility with which the royal cause was then conducted. Both movements foundered in an hour, through surprises, against which each had been amply forewarned. Fortunately for the government, the affairs of the rebels were managed even worse. Two ...
— Autobiographic Sketches • Thomas de Quincey

... opulent marts on the Barbary coast, or the security gained for commerce, by sweeping the Mediterranean of the pestilent hordes of marauders, which had so long infested it. Most of the new conquests escaped from the Spanish crown in later times, through the imbecility or indolence of Ferdinand's successors. The conquests of Ximenes, however, were placed in so strong a posture of defence, as to resist every attempt for their recovery by the enemy, and to remain permanently incorporated with the ...
— The History of the Reign of Ferdinand and Isabella The Catholic, V3 • William H. Prescott

... imbecility was slowly clearing away like the heavy mists of a London fog, through which the feeble sunshine struggles dimly to appear. The very uncertain radiance of Lieutenant Maldon's intellect took a considerable time in ...
— Lady Audley's Secret • Mary Elizabeth Braddon

... in the parlour," answered my mother in an altered tone; and she led me in. He was seated in his wheelchair, a look of dull imbecility ...
— Paddy Finn • W. H. G. Kingston

... piety, and expressed the belief that his class should show an example in morals to the lower orders. In secret, however, his life was vicious, and many damaging stories were known of him. He was one of Nana's admirers, and after a visit to her he was struck by sudden imbecility and semi-paralysis, the result of ...
— A Zola Dictionary • J. G. Patterson

... wishes more ardently than I do to see a good system commenced for raising the condition both of their body and mind to what it ought to be, as fast as the imbecility of their present existence, and other circumstances which cannot be neglected, ...
— The Journal of Negro History, Volume 3, 1918 • Various

... by, and Harry Forsyth remained in this state of semi- imbecility, free from anxiety about his mother and sister at home, forgetful of all but his animal comforts and the superficial interest he felt in such prattle as this. His bodily health improved before his mental activity; perhaps it ...
— For Fortune and Glory - A Story of the Soudan War • Lewis Hough

... and the finite, inspired with a belief in the existence of something unconditioned beyond the sphere of all comprehensible reality."[350] Here, then, we have found the ultimate ground of our faith in the Infinite God. It is built upon a "mental imbecility," ...
— Christianity and Greek Philosophy • Benjamin Franklin Cocker

... suddenly strike us perhaps in a garden at night, or deep in sloping meadows, the feeling that every flower and leaf has just uttered something stupendously direct and important, and that we have by a prodigy of imbecility not heard or understood it. There is a certain poetic value, and that a genuine one, in this sense of having missed the full meaning of things. There is beauty, not only in wisdom, but in this ...
— Robert Browning • G. K. Chesterton

... incompetence, stupidity, dulness, imbecility, inaptitude, inefficiency, unskilfulness, feebleness, impotence, incapacity, ...
— English Synonyms and Antonyms - With Notes on the Correct Use of Prepositions • James Champlin Fernald

... are true forces. They grow to be an obligation upon us. A lofty sense of personal worth is one of the surest elements of greatness. That the lion should love to masquerade in the ass's skin is not modesty and reserve, but imbecility and degradation. And that England should wrap herself in the robe of small causes and mean reasons is the more deplorable, because there is no nation in the world the substantial elements of whose power are so majestic and imperial as our own. Our language is the most ...
— On Compromise • John Morley

... was added a round sum for interest,—ecstatic, on being presented with a brand-new pair of pantaloons, of the same pattern as the expensive ones formerly so admired by him. But his features collapsed, and for some time wore an expression of imbecility, when he learned the details of the adventure, and found out that "some things"—landlords, for example—"can be done ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Vol. VI.,October, 1860.—No. XXXVI. - A Magazine Of Literature, Art, And Politics • Various

... a singular imbecility of manner and appearance, 'but I meant the path was rough. It lies, all the way, by glade and dingle, and the dingles are both deep ...
— Prince Otto • Robert Louis Stevenson

... disgust me from a boy by the unbelief which they inspired; so if any one dwelt on the special proofs of tenderness and love exhibited in certain words or actions of Jesus, it was apt to call out in me a sense, that from day to day equal kindness might often be met. The imbecility of preachers, who would dwell on such words as "Weep not," as if nobody else ever uttered such,—had always annoyed me. I felt it impossible to obtain a worthy idea of Christ from studying any of ...
— Phases of Faith - Passages from the History of My Creed • Francis William Newman

... wealth of the civilized world, when civilization could not prevent the world from falling into decay and ruin. And as it was the noblest triumph which the human mind, under pagan influences, ever achieved, so it was followed by the most degrading imbecility into which man, in civilized countries, was ever allowed to fall. Philosophy, like art, like literature, like science, arose, shined, grew dim, and passed away, and left the world in night. Why was so bright a glory followed by so dismal a shame? What a comment is this ...
— The Old Roman World • John Lord

... the rebel works had become impregnable, then, but not until then, our troops were hurled against them! The flower of the army has thus been butchered by the surpassing stupidity of its commanders. The details of that slaughter, and of the imbecility displayed by our officers in high command,—those details, when published, will be horrible. The Lincoln-Seward-Halleck-influence gave Burnside the command because he was to take care of the army. And how Burnside has fulfilled their expectations! It seems that the ...
— Diary from November 12, 1862, to October 18, 1863 • Adam Gurowski

... perceiving his imminent peril, ventured down the bank, and shouted to him to fly to them. He moved not; they entreated him, and, knowing his great age and infirmity, and the utter imbecility of the poor old dame, insisted upon ...
— Canada and the Canadians, Vol. 2 • Richard Henry Bonnycastle

... a distant bluff, I turned to the sodden wreck of the deserted camp, and began actively to pack my mules. Samson seemed paralysed by imbecility. ...
— Tracks of a Rolling Stone • Henry J. Coke

... Miss Starbrow pushed her angrily from her. "Sorry! Never dare to say such a thing again! Oh, I don't know which is most hateful to me, his villainy or your whining imbecility. Leave me—go to your room, and never come to me unless ...
— Fan • Henry Harford

... through their infinite inferiority to the choice hidden handful of the Divine Inert, than through their undoubted superiority over the dead level of the mass. Such large virtue lurks in these small things when extreme political superstitions invest them, that in some royal instances even to idiot imbecility they have imparted potency. But when, as in the case of Nicholas the Czar, the ringed crown of geographical empire encircles an imperial brain; .. then, the plebeian herds crouch abased before the tremendous ...
— Moby-Dick • Melville

... understanding of this instrument, it will be essential to recur to the object of its adoption; in this there can be no difference of opinion. The old band of union had been literally dissolved in its own imbecility; to remedy this serious evil, an increase of the powers of ...
— The World's Best Orations, Vol. 1 (of 10) • Various

... that are built up on some interesting or informing little principle; and puzzles that conceal no principle whatever—such as a picture cut at random into little bits to be put together again, or the juvenile imbecility known as the "rebus," or "picture puzzle." The former species may be said to be adapted to the amusement of the sane man or woman; the latter can be confidently recommended ...
— The Canterbury Puzzles - And Other Curious Problems • Henry Ernest Dudeney

... treason, and every dissenting minister that he has or can find occasion to notice, there are hardly any persons mentioned who are not stigmatized as knaves or fools, differing only in degrees of "turpitude" and "imbecility". Mr. Macaulay has almost realized the work that Alexander Chalmers's playful imagination had fancied, a Biographia Flagitiosa, or The Lives of Eminent Scoundrels. This is also an imitation of the Historical Novel, though rather in the ...
— Famous Reviews • Editor: R. Brimley Johnson

... own. He also took her knife if it happened to be sharper than the one he had, and he insisted on her listening to his incessant grumbling as to the food, the service, the temperature, and the general imbecility and baseness of ...
— Jan and Her Job • L. Allen Harker

... was an aged man of grayish beard, who was particularly loud and zealous in his condemnation of the dishonest banker. He railed against the Government, which, he said, was priest-ridden under the whip of Mazarin; the imbecility of the police; and the apathy of the citizens, who bore so peaceably such glaring acts of injustice and imposition. He poured out a volume of calumny against the priesthood, and blasphemed so as to cast a chill of terror ...
— Alvira: the Heroine of Vesuvius • A. J. O'Reilly

... to me. Americans have fadded the thing into imbecility, so that the very phrase has become such a bromide one hates to pronounce it. But of course the commonplace that all dreams are expressions of suppressed desires is true. And it's very apparent that Mrs. Crittenden's desire is a very ...
— The Brimming Cup • Dorothy Canfield Fisher

... will delight mankind? and how can a statesman grapple eloquently with Fate, when the contest is not to be determined on the spot, but by quiet and remote people coolly reading his speech several hours or days later? Even if we were vagarying into imbecility, like the wildest Neo-Platonic hierophants, like the monkish chroniclers of the Middle Ages, like other romantic and fantastic theorists who have leaped out of human nature into a purely artificial realm, ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 14, No. 83, September, 1864 • Various

... the smell of coming pleasure and scent it from afar, in those big cheeks, hanging like half-filled wine-skins, still able to contain more, in that coarsely-protruded shelf mouth, that fat dew-lapped chin; in all this who sees not sensuality, pretension, boisterous imbecility enough? The underpart of Boswell's face is of a low, almost ...
— In the Name of the Bodleian and Other Essays • Augustine Birrell

... natural history, or when I am in the reforming frame of mind that I desire earnest exhortations to improve society. In the same way I am only drawn to the Post-Impressionists when I want, not beautiful pictures, but an agreeable sense of the impudence and imbecility of professional craftsmen. But when I am in the mood for literature and art, I demand something that shall appeal to my sense of beauty; and I refuse to be shamed into believing that I ought to prefer scientific knowledge, or ethical suasion, or ...
— Personality in Literature • Rolfe Arnold Scott-James

... it does in such as are arrived at maturity, yet no man must imagine that the soul of an infant grows up with the child, for then would it again decay; but it suits itself to nature's weakness, and the imbecility of the body wherein it is placed, that it may operate the better. And as the body is more capable of recovering its influence, so the soul does more and more exert its faculties, having force and endowment ...
— The Works of Aristotle the Famous Philosopher • Anonymous

... the State. It banishes free white labor—it exterminates the mechanic—the artisan—the manufacturer. It deprives them of occupation. It deprives them of bread. It converts the energy of a community into indolence—its power into imbecility—its efficiency into weakness. Sir, being thus injurious, have we not a right to demand its extermination! Shall society suffer, that the slaveholder may continue to gather his vigintial crop of human flesh? What is his mere pecuniary ...
— An Appeal in Favor of that Class of Americans Called Africans • Lydia Maria Child

... my action, but as it were compelled by my faith in that man. The sergeant made as if to cry out, but astonishment deprived him of his voice, and he remained standing with his mouth open as if overtaken by sudden imbecility. ...
— A Set of Six • Joseph Conrad

... off into fresh peals of laughter, at various reminiscences, and were bordering upon a condition of imbecility when Lorraine at last joined ...
— Winding Paths • Gertrude Page

... vociferous thing; the press, an obstreperous thing; thought, an insolent thing, and liberty, the most crying abuse of all. But he came, and for the tribune he has substituted the Senate; for the press, the censorship; for thought, imbecility; and for liberty, the saber; and by the saber and the Senate, by imbecility and censorship, France is saved. Saved, bravo! And from whom, I repeat? From herself. For what was this France of ours, if you please? A horde of marauders and thieves, of anarchists, ...
— Public Speaking • Irvah Lester Winter

... was of keeping body and soul together. My chance of seeing you was to let them have their will with me. Those brutes were sure, sooner or later, to bring you to me, that you might see the caged fox worn down to imbecility, eh? That you might add your tears to their persuasion, and succeed where they ...
— El Dorado • Baroness Orczy

... bottles, betake themselves to neighboring dance-rooms and kick up a row, bursting in doors, and breaking benches and chairs to pieces—in short, they have a good time.—The next morning, having slept himself sober, he dictates his orders for the day, veritable masterpieces in which the silliness, imbecility and credulity of a numskull, the sentimentality of the drunkard, the clap-trap of a mountebank and the tirades of a cheap philosopher form an unique compound, at once sickening and irritating, like the fiery, pungent mixtures of cheap bars, which suit his audience better because ...
— The Origins of Contemporary France, Volume 4 (of 6) - The French Revolution, Volume 3 (of 3) • Hippolyte A. Taine

... idea occurred to them. They flung the Bible in the vulgar tongue in millions of copies at the heads of the masses. And they dared them to understand it! This audacity has been justified by the results. A sublime faith in Human Imbecility has seldom led ...
— Impressions And Comments • Havelock Ellis

... this prospect! Does not thine, Jane? Dost thou not fear to take such a wretched chance with me? I that know myself, my own imbecility,—I ought surely to rescue thee from such a fate, ...
— Jane Talbot • Charles Brockden Brown

... anything he denounces. But, indeed, Nietzsche will stand very well as the type of the whole of this failure of abstract violence. The softening of the brain which ultimately overtook him was not a physical accident. If Nietzsche had not ended in imbecility, Nietzscheism would end in imbecility. Thinking in isolation and with pride ends in being an idiot. Every man who will not have softening of the heart must at last have softening of ...
— Orthodoxy • G. K. Chesterton

... X., who upon news of the taking of Milan, a thing he had so ardently desired, was rapt with so sudden an excess of joy that he immediately fell into a fever and died.—[Guicciardini, Storia d'Italia, vol. xiv.]—And for a more notable testimony of the imbecility of human nature, it is recorded by the ancients—[Pliny, 'ut supra']—that Diodorus the dialectician died upon the spot, out of an extreme passion of shame, for not having been able in his own school, and ...
— The Essays of Montaigne, Complete • Michel de Montaigne

... character: his conscience is almost deficient, his instincts are vicious, his power of self-control is very weak, and he usually detests continuous labour. The absence of self-control is due to ungovernable temper, to passion, or to mere imbecility, and the conditions that determine the particular description of crime are the character of the ...
— Inquiries into Human Faculty and Its Development • Francis Galton

... it is admitted and bewailed by everybody, seldom was there seen such a Government of England (and England has seen some strange Governments), as in these last Three Years. Chaotic Imbecility reigning pretty supreme. Ruler's Work,—policy, administration, governance, guidance, performance in any kind,—where is it to be found? For if even a Walpole, when his Talking-Apparatus gets out of gear upon him, is reduced to extremities, though the stoutest of men,—fancy ...
— History of Friedrich II. of Prussia, Vol. XVIII. (of XXI.) - Frederick The Great—Seven-Years War Rises to a Height.—1757-1759. • Thomas Carlyle

... that, according to the spirit of the Constitution and his own desire, it was to be hoped "that, by expressing a national disapprobation of this trade, we may destroy it, and save ourselves from reproaches, and our posterity the imbecility ever attendant on a country filled with slaves." Finally, to Burke of South Carolina, who thought "the gentlemen were contending for nothing," Madison sharply rejoined, "If we contend for nothing, the gentlemen who are opposed to ...
— The Suppression of the African Slave Trade to the United States of America - 1638-1870 • W. E. B. Du Bois

... tracks, but were not able to travel very fast on account of the still feeble condition of the white stranger. Poor creature! I pitied him from the bottom of my heart. It seemed so terrible for a man to lapse into a state of imbecility after having survived the dreadful hardships and adventures that had befallen him. I tried over and over again to elicit sensible replies to my questions as to where he came from; but he simply gibbered and babbled ...
— The Adventures of Louis de Rougemont - as told by Himself • Louis de Rougemont

... 1814 a camp of instruction for officers and men was formed, with Scott in command, near Buffalo. Up to this time the imbecility of the administration (and of the people whom the administration represented) in not preparing for the war, had been well matched by the supineness with which they carried it on. During the eighteen months that ...
— Great Men and Famous Women. Vol. 2 of 8 • Various

... total abstinence therefrom, he did signal service to a large portion of the human family. Although, for want of better teaching, Mohammedans cling to many vices, one never sees them howling through the streets in a state of wild ferocity, or staggering homewards in a condition of mild imbecility, from the ...
— The Middy and the Moors - An Algerine Story • R.M. Ballantyne

... key to the age may be this, or that, or the other, as the young orators describe;—the key to all ages is,—Imbecility; imbecility in the vast majority of men at all times, and, even in heroes, in all but certain eminent moments; victims of gravity, custom, and fear. This gives force to the strong,—that the multitude have no habit of self-reliance or ...
— The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table • Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (The Physician and Poet not the Jurist)

... fruitfully. To insist upon the power of heredity was once considered to indicate a fatalistic pessimism. It wears a very different aspect nowadays, in the light of Eugenics. "To the eugenist," as Davenport observes, "heredity stands as the one great hope of the human race: its saviour from imbecility, poverty, disease, immorality."[40] We cannot, indeed, desire any compulsory elimination of the unfit or any centrally regulated breeding of the fit.[41] Such notions are idle, and even the mere fact that unbalanced ...
— The Task of Social Hygiene • Havelock Ellis

... Crusoe, with our worldly goods around us. Most of the natives we found so stupid that they could not understand our excellent Norse. One fellow, in particular, might as well have been a piece of mahogany as a man. He stood looking at me with stolid imbecility while I was talking to him, and made no reply when I had done. In fact the motion of his eyes, as he looked at me, alone betrayed the fact that ...
— Freaks on the Fells - Three Months' Rustication • R.M. Ballantyne

... being attacked and hung by the ancient New Englanders any the more because of their non-resisting principles? Have the Jews escaped persecutions throughout Christendom any the more because of their imbecility and non-resistance for some centuries past? Poland was comparatively harmless and defenceless when the three great European powers combined to attack and destroy the entire nation, dividing between themselves the Polish territory, ...
— Elements of Military Art and Science • Henry Wager Halleck

... baggage were just as related in the story—the only liberty I have taken being the bestowal of names. 'M. Arture' was really of the party, but I have made him Scotch instead of Irish, and I have no knowledge that the lackey was not French. The imbecility of the Abbe is merely a deduction from his helplessness, but of course this may ...
— A Modern Telemachus • Charlotte M. Yonge

... mother's hair were, and supposing at any moment that I were called upon to give an account, I could not turn the leaves of the past and point to the right picture, how quick they would be to diagnose my case as feeblemindedness, or imbecility. Then, to be considered mentally normal, must one treat one's brain like a slate to be sponged off and be able at command to tear out pictures that have burned the most hideous misery into the soul, and throw them away as one does leaves from ...
— Men in War • Andreas Latzko

... point of character, between the antient and modern inhabitants of Rome; and that the great figure which this empire made of old, was not so much owing to the intrinsic virtue of its citizens, as to the barbarism, ignorance, and imbecility of the nations they subdued. Instances of public and private virtue I find as frequent and as striking in the history of other nations, as in the annals of antient Rome; and now that the kingdoms and states of Europe are pretty ...
— Travels Through France and Italy • Tobias Smollett

... spirit in which the church had hitherto dealt with them. "That by license and dispensation," he said, "you do enjoy, and keep, and possess such goods and lands of the church as were found in your hands, this was done of the church your mother's tenderness unto you, considering your imbecility and weakness after so sore a sickness that you had in the schism, at the which time your appetite served you to no meat, but to that fruit that came from the lands of the church; and by that you lived, which she was content you should keep still, and made promise it should not be taken from ...
— The Reign of Mary Tudor • James Anthony Froude

... lieutenant-general, second in command to the Earl of Manchester. The second battle of Newbury, though a success, gave Cromwell, then one of the most influential members of Parliament, an occasion to complain of the imbecility of the noblemen who controlled the army, and who were Presbyterians. The "self-denying ordinance," which prohibited members of Parliament from command in the army, was a blow at Presbyterianism and aristocracy, and marked the growing power of the Independents. It was planned by Cromwell, ...
— Beacon Lights of History, Volume VIII • John Lord

... not his own, though deriving much of its effect from his own weight, upon the person of the enfeebled Tongs: the toper clasped him round with a corresponding spirit, and they both rolled upon the floor in utter imbecility, carrying with them the table around which they had been seated, and tumbling into the general mass of bottles, pipes, and glasses, the slumbering youth, who, till that moment, lay altogether ignorant of ...
— Guy Rivers: A Tale of Georgia • William Gilmore Simms

... Galignani's Messenger did not arrive at the usual hour, on the morning of my departure; to finish breakfast, or bathing, without Galignani's Messenger, was perfectly impossible, so I remained, till I was half boiled, in a state of the most indolent imbecility. ...
— Pelham, Complete • Edward Bulwer-Lytton

... (aside). "Yes, miss!" The man will drive me crazy with his saccharine imbecility. (Aloud.) I believe you would assent to anything, even if I ...
— Two Men of Sandy Bar - A Drama • Bret Harte

... entitled to common decency. He would, to all appearance, have regarded an appeal for mercy to a Grub-street author much as Dandie Dinmont regarded Brown's tenderness to a "brock"—as a proof of incredible imbecility, or, rather, of want of proper antipathy to vermin. Dennis, like Philips, was inscribed on the long list of his hatreds; and was pursued almost to the end of his unfortunate life. Pope, it is true, ...
— Alexander Pope - English Men of Letters Series • Leslie Stephen

... fields, the street and public chambers, are the places where Man executes his will; let him yield or divide the scepter at the door of the house. Woman, with her instinct of behavior, instantly detects in man a love of trifles, any coldness or imbecility, or, in short, any want of that large, flowing, and magnanimous deportment, which is indispensable as an exterior in the hall. Our American institutions have been friendly to her, and at this moment I esteem it ...
— Essays • Ralph Waldo Emerson

... his reign was such as by no means prognosticated its subsequent transition. The sudden change of his conduct, the astonishing mixture of imbecility and presumption, of moral turpitude and frantic extravagance, which he afterwards evinced; such as rolling himself over heaps of gold, his treatment of his horse Incitatus, and his design of making him consul, seem to justify a suspicion that his brain ...
— The Lives Of The Twelve Caesars, Complete - To Which Are Added, His Lives Of The Grammarians, Rhetoricians, And Poets • C. Suetonius Tranquillus

... cavalier was startled by its peculiarly fierce and almost unearthly expression. The mouth drawn to one side, the wide flat forehead, projecting cheek-bones, and pointed chin, sufficiently characterised him as labouring under that sort of imbecility not seldom unmixed with a tact and shrewdness that seem to be characteristic of this species of disease and deformity. He set one foot on the mattock, ceasing from his labours whilst he cried out, winking significantly ...
— Traditions of Lancashire, Volume 2 (of 2) • John Roby

... from ten in the morning until four in the afternoon, he dealt with all varieties of scamps and mendicants, fools and desperadoes, and all the tribe of piratical cutthroats which in those days constituted a large part of the merchant marine. Calamity, imbecility, and rascality were his constant companions in that dingy little den; and the gloomy and sooty skies without but faintly pictured the moral atmosphere which they exhaled; he entered deeply into all their affairs, projects, and complaints, ...
— Hawthorne and His Circle • Julian Hawthorne

... me, and from that time I began to recover; and nothing could exceed the tenderness wherewith I was treated by those Samaritan Christians, the landlord and his wife of the public at Kingswell. This distemper, however, left a great imbecility of body behind it; and I wondered whether it could be of providence to prevent me from going forward with my avenging purpose against ...
— Ringan Gilhaize - or The Covenanters • John Galt

... ask the honor to show to you Madame Courtelyou's portrait of myself? It is called 'The Glorification of Imbecility,'" he said as he proffered his arm ...
— The Perils of Pauline • Charles Goddard

... solemn eyes look up into Sir Victor Catheron's face. Both bow. Both murmur the pianissimo imbecility requisite on such occasions, and Edith Darrell is ...
— A Terrible Secret • May Agnes Fleming

... somewhat impatient with my dear, infatuated friend. There he was, casting the largesse of his soul at the feet of a blind woman, a woman blinded by the bedazzlement of a false fire, whose flare it was his religion to intensify. There he was doing this, and he did not see the imbecility of it! In after time we can correlate incidents and circumstances, viewing them in a perspective more or less correct. We see that we might have said and done a hundred helpful things. Well, we know that we did not, and there's an end on't. I felt, as I say, ...
— Jaffery • William J. Locke

... imbecility of Anneke vanished, and I found her, for the remainder of the time we remained in jeopardy, quick to apprehend, and ready to second all my efforts. It was this passing submission to an imaginary doom, on the one hand, and the headlong effect of sudden fright on the other, ...
— Satanstoe • James Fenimore Cooper

... insinuate what it was dangerous to announce; and Beatrice, in all her glory and sweetness, is but a specimen of the jargon and slang of Ghibelline freemasonry. When Italians write thus, they degrade the greatest name of their country to a depth of laborious imbecility, to which the trifling of schoolmen and academicians is as nothing. It is to solve the enigma of Dante's works by imagining for him a character in which it is hard to say which predominates, the pedant, mountebank, or infidel. After that we may read Voltaire's sneers with patience, ...
— The Great Events by Famous Historians, Volume 07 • Various

... there is nothing the matter with you; but you are weak in body and mind." This seemed to me the most degraded of all conceivable conditions, and I fell into a redoublement of weeping over my own abasement and imbecility. ...
— Records of a Girlhood • Frances Anne Kemble

... part of the wife, whereby the quiet of their lives may be disturbed; some from fear of revenge on the part of the husband or relations; some from fear of chastisement from the servants of the family; some also abstain from motives of poverty, avarice, or imbecility, arising either from disease, from abuse, from age, or from impotence. Of these there are some also, who, because they cannot or dare not commit adultery in the body, condemn adulteries in the spirit; ...
— The Delights of Wisdom Pertaining to Conjugial Love • Emanuel Swedenborg

... Scriptures is nothing but this final, perfect world. There you will greet David and the prophets. There will you tell to the astounded listeners, not only the great events of the extinct world, but also the ills they will never know: sickness, old age, grief, egotism, hypocrisy, abhorrent vanity, imbecility, and the rest. The soul, like the earth, ...
— Brazilian Tales • Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis

... wholesome home environment. Mental and moral degeneracy is always present in society, and if unchecked spreads widely; physical degeneracy is so common as to be alarming, resulting in dangerous forms of disease, imbecility, and insanity. Society is waking to the need of protecting itself against degeneracy in all its forms, and of cutting out the roots of the evil from ...
— Society - Its Origin and Development • Henry Kalloch Rowe

... entered to complain of brutal ill-treatment. But the Duke of Richmond was so wrapped up in his own speech and its importance that he could only protest against anything which interrupted its flow. It is agreeable to find that imbecility and terror did not rule unchallenged over the Upper House that day. One account, that of Walpole, who is always malicious, represents Lord Mansfield as sitting upon the woolsack trembling like an aspen. Another, more creditable and more credible, declares that Lord Mansfield ...
— A History of the Four Georges and of William IV, Volume III (of 4) • Justin McCarthy and Justin Huntly McCarthy

... through (now) a long life, and I feel so deeply, and I trust so humbly, the power of his grace and mercy in Christ, that, I can calmly contemplate the approach of the last hour. But I confess I do shrink from encountering an undefined period of bodily and mental imbecility; of being helpless, useless, a burden. I have been so distressed to see all this come upon our bishop, Dr. Terrot; the once clear, acute, sharp, and ready man. Oh, it is to my mind the most terrible affliction of our poor nature. I have known lately an unusual number ...
— Reminiscences of Scottish Life and Character • Edward Bannerman Ramsay

... my host said to me in a low voice, "that the poor woman has fallen into senile imbecility, and that is the cause of her looks, which are so strange, considering the ...
— The Works of Guy de Maupassant, Volume II (of 8) • Guy de Maupassant

... in the morning, and promises a glorious day, I never omit to exclaim, "There, now, they have another blessing from Heaven, which they will be sure to destroy: they spoil everything,—health, fame, happiness, amusement; and they do this generally through folly, ignorance, or imbecility, and always, according to their own account, with the best intentions!" I could often beseech them, on my bended knees, to be less resolved ...
— The Sorrows of Young Werther • J.W. von Goethe

... duncedom sneaks and skulks. Most of the men of dignity, who awe or bore their more genial brethren, are simply men who possess the art of passing off their insensibility for wisdom, their dullness for depth, and of concealing imbecility of intellect under haughtiness ...
— Pearls of Thought • Maturin M. Ballou

... had seen it expressed only in the polished phrases of Anacreon, Bion, Propertius, and the others. He had not guessed that, however these men polished their verses, they doubtless addressed their sweethearts with all the imbecility ...
— In a Little Town • Rupert Hughes

... that a brick wall would make no difference to a spirit, but I felt that I was lapsing into a state of imbecility, and stood silent, shivering a little. For it had started ...
— Master Tales of Mystery, Volume 3 • Collected and Arranged by Francis J. Reynolds

... the way, an occasion arises at this moment; for the reader will be sure to ask, when we come to the story, "Was this other creature present?" He was not; or more correctly, perhaps, it was not. We dropped the creature—or the creature, by natural imbecility, dropped itself—within the first ten miles from Manchester. In the latter case, I wish to make a philosophic remark of a moral tendency. When I die, or when the reader dies, and by repute suppose of fever, it will never be known whether we died in reality ...
— Miscellaneous Essays • Thomas de Quincey

... so cultivated by knowledge, so tried by experience, and so practised by converse with the literary world, that its prophetic feeling can anticipate the public opinion. When a young writer's first essay is shown, some, through mere inability of censure, see nothing but beauties; others, from mere imbecility, can see none; and others, out of pure malice, see nothing but faults. "I was soon disgusted," says Gibbon, "with the modest practice of reading the manuscript to my friends. Of such friends some will praise for politeness, and ...
— Literary Character of Men of Genius - Drawn from Their Own Feelings and Confessions • Isaac D'Israeli

... Indian is not an ideal being, he is still less a stolid mentally squalid brute. He is not reticent out of imbecility or mental weakness. He fails properly to understand much of what takes place around him, especially what happens within the circle of our modern civilization, but withal he is far from indifferent toward his surroundings. He ...
— The Delight Makers • Adolf Bandelier

... on the ground of witchcraft and this must be taken into calculation when one considers what woman owes to religion. The Reformation reduced woman to the position of a mere breeder of children. During the sway of Puritanism woman was a poor, benighted being, a human toad under the harrow of a pious imbecility. ...
— The Necessity of Atheism • Dr. D.M. Brooks

... Ingate in her rather shrill voice, grinning sardonically, with the corners of her lips still lower than usual in anticipatory sarcasm. It was as if she had said: "You cannot surprise me by any narrative of imbecility or turpitude or bathos. All the same, I am dying to hear the latest eccentricity of ...
— The Lion's Share • E. Arnold Bennett

... learned actually to hold anything. The play of feature was animated. The dark eyes, shining and rapidly moving, never lingered long upon one and the same object. The child was much inclined to bite, and always bit very sharply. Mentally there was pronounced imbecility. In spite of his four years the boy never got so far as to produce any articulate sounds whatever. Even simple words like "papa" and "mamma" were beyond his ability. His desire for anything was expressed in inarticulate and not specially expressive tones. His sleep was short ...
— The Mind of the Child, Part II • W. Preyer

... having promised to support Addington, deemed himself in honour bound to fulfil that pledge. But, as the events of the year 1802 showed more and more the imbecility of the Addington Cabinet, torturing doubts preyed upon his mind. His friends, especially Canning, now began to discern the pathos of his position, but sought to draw him from his seclusion at Walmer. An opportunity occurred in the month of May. Pitt's birthday was ...
— William Pitt and the Great War • John Holland Rose

... it is a matter of pecuniary importance to the tax-payer, who is naturally desirous of learning whether these drones in the hive, who not only perform no labor themselves, but require others to attend them, and who often, also, from their imbecility, are made the tools and dupes of others in the commission of crime, cannot be transformed into producers instead of consumers, and become quiet and orderly citizens, instead ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 1, No. 4, February, 1858 • Various

... innocent and industrious subjects.[5] In India there are no universities or public schools, in which young men might escape, as they do in Europe, from the enervating and stultifying influence of the zanana.[6] The state of mental imbecility to which a youth of naturally average powers of mind, born to territorial dominion, is in India often reduced by a haughty and ambitious mother, would be absolutely incredible to a man bred up in such schools. They are often utterly unable to act, think, or speak for themselves. ...
— Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official • William Sleeman

... legitimate theatre, and see something that I can smell, too. The influence of the vaudeville has, on the whole, been so elevating and refining that its audiences cannot stand either the impurity or the imbecility of the fashionable drama. But now the vaudeville itself is beginning to decline in ...
— Imaginary Interviews • W. D. Howells

... Lamb wrote to Coleridge, 'I hate all that do read, for they read nothing but reviews and new books. I gather myself up into the old things.' 'I am jealous for the actors who pleased my youth,' he says elsewhere. And again: 'For me, I do not know whether a constitutional imbecility does not incline me too obstinately to cling to the remembrances of childhood; in an inverted ratio to the usual sentiment of mankind, nothing that I have been engaged in since seems of any value or importance compared to the colours ...
— Figures of Several Centuries • Arthur Symons

... frequently, and always when they run no risk of being caught. The climate, and the insane effort to garrison the whole country, consumes our troops, and we make no progress. May the good Lord be with us, and deliver us from idleness and imbecility; and especially, O! Lord, grant a little every-day sense—that very common sense which plain people use in the management of their business affairs—to the illustrious generals who have our ...
— The Citizen-Soldier - or, Memoirs of a Volunteer • John Beatty

... liberty—the centralized power of the crown and the tiara, the ultramontane in religion, the despotic in policy—found their fullest expression and most fatal exercise. Her records shine with glorious deeds, the self-devotion of heroes and of martyrs; and the result of all is disorder, imbecility, ruin. ...
— Pioneers Of France In The New World • Francis Parkman, Jr.

... when the boys have become young men, this sentiment of gratitude begins to come in, but it only changes the contempt into pity. And when years have passed away, and the mother is perhaps in her grave, her sons think of her with a mingled feeling excited by the conjoined remembrance of her helpless imbecility and of her true maternal love, and say to each other, with a smile, "Poor dear mother! what a time she had of it ...
— Gentle Measures in the Management and Training of the Young • Jacob Abbott

... the use of that river they gave some evidence of a disposition to drop from the Confederacy, if this valuable acquisition could not otherwise be made. This temper could not fail to be viewed with interest by the neighboring powers, who had been encouraged by it and by the imbecility of the government, to enter into ...
— Life And Times Of Washington, Volume 2 • John Frederick Schroeder and Benson John Lossing

... they were appropriated by some one else they were found remarkable and even brilliant. It is to be borne in mind that I am not rich, have neither stud nor cellar, and no very high connections such as give to a look of imbecility a certain prestige of inheritance through a titled line; just as "the Austrian lip" confers a grandeur of historical associations on a kind of feature which might make us reject an advertising footman. I have now and then done harm to a good cause by speaking for ...
— Impressions of Theophrastus Such • George Eliot

... case be: "A Celt crossed with Gascon with a slight infusion of Laplander blood." Such a condition of things ought, if I am not mistaken, according to the theories of the anthropologists, to represent the maximum of idiocy and imbecility; but the decrees of anthropology are only relative: what it treats as stupidity among the ancient races of men is often neither more nor less than an extraordinary force of enthusiasm ...
— Recollections of My Youth • Ernest Renan

... in number, and fourfold in character. The first is the Apology tyrannical; the second, the Apology imbecile; the third, the Apology absurd; and the fourth, the Apology infamous. That is all. Tyranny, imbecility, absurdity, and infamy all unite to dance, like the weird sisters, ...
— Public Speaking • Clarence Stratton

... that he was irreclaimably a fool and a prodigy of irresponsibleness. She tolerated him, now with sweetness, now bitterly; accepting always his caprices, and not permitting herself to have wishes of her own. She was ready to pay the price of pride and of a moment's imbecility with a lifetime of self-repression. It was high, but it was the price. She had acquired nothing but an exceptionally good knowledge of the French language (she soon learnt to scorn Gerald's glib maltreatment of the tongue), and she had conserved nothing but her dignity. ...
— The Old Wives' Tale • Arnold Bennett

... been, very dull here. There is every probability of Madame de Genlis writing more volumes than ever. I called on the old lady, and was quite amused with the enthusiasm of her imbecility. Chateaubriand is getting what you call a bore; and the whole city is mad about a new opera by Boieldieu. Your mother sends her love, and desires me to say, that the salmi of woodcocks, a la Lucullus, which you write ...
— Vivian Grey • The Earl of Beaconsfield

... the prevailing fashion of submission to democratic rule tempered by an occasional diversion in the form of an attempted local counter-revolution. These movements are generally innocuous; they sometimes add to the gaiety of nations by the sheer imbecility of their inception and attempted execution, and they appear to be welcome rather than otherwise, as a means of distracting public attention from the universal muddle and general misguidance of European affairs, ...
— From a Terrace in Prague • Lieut.-Col. B. Granville Baker

... of the shoulder-joint, in an individual who had suffered fracture of the base of the skull, fracture of the jaw, and compound fracture of the right humerus. There was high delirium followed by imbecility in this case. Bonnet reports a case of fracture of both thighs, two right ribs, luxation of the clavicle, and accidental club-foot with tenotomy, with good recovery from all the complications. Beach speaks of an individual who suffered ...
— Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine • George M. Gould

... criticism adopted by those who, actuated by partisan zeal and guided by narrow motives, apply to such characters the limited gauge of their own insight and estimation—endeavoring to atone by microscopic accuracy for imbecility in fundamental principles.' Hence the foreign publicist of large research and precise historical knowledge, the scholar of broad and earnest sympathies, the patriot of generous and tenacious principles, find in these exemplars of civic virtue objects of permanent admiration; while ...
— The Continental Monthly, Vol. 6, No 3, September 1864 - Devoted To Literature And National Policy • Various

... the United States as a (p. 060) vigorous, efficient, and practical system of government, to prove its soundness, safety, and efficacy, and to defend it from the undermining assaults of those who distrusted it and would have reduced it to imbecility. Supplementary and cognate to this was the further task of giving the young nation and the new system a chance to get fairly started in life before being subjected to the strain of war and European entanglements. To this end it was necessary ...
— John Quincy Adams - American Statesmen Series • John. T. Morse

... particular kind of brain-power I happen to possess, which is the point. The processes by which a Birmingham jeweller makes the wonderful things which we attribute to 'French taste' when we see them in the shops of the Rue de la Paix are, of course, mere imbecility—compared to my performances in Responsions. Lucky for me, at any rate, that the world has decided it so. I get a good time of it—and the Birmingham ...
— Marcella • Mrs. Humphry Ward

... to have abandoned the office of Ghostly Comforter to her domestics. Only for Barnet she couldn't have left poor Freddy to the mercy of that pack of fools; in fact, even with Barnet to look after them, it was impossible to tell what imbecility they were not ...
— All on the Irish Shore - Irish Sketches • E. Somerville and Martin Ross

... better of the Dragon, he adulterated his drink (Mr. Lemon played the Dragon) with sherry, the sly relish with which he watched the demoralization, by this means, of his formidable adversary into a helpless imbecility, was perfect. Here Dickens played the testy old Baron, and took advantage of the excitement against the Czar raging in 1855 to denounce him (in a song) as no other than own cousin to the very Bear that Fortunio had gone forth to subdue. He depicted ...
— The Life of Charles Dickens, Vol. I-III, Complete • John Forster

... passing. "The forgeries of opinion," says Cicero, "speedily pass away; but the rules and decisions of nature are strengthened." Bitter reproaches and acts of violence are the offspring of perturbation engendered upon imbecility, and therefore can never be approved upon a sober and impartial revision. And, if they are to be impeached in the judgment of an equal and indifferent observer, we may be sure they will be emphatically condemned by the grave and enlightened censor who looks back upon the years ...
— Thoughts on Man - His Nature, Productions and Discoveries, Interspersed with - Some Particulars Respecting the Author • William Godwin

... and wept, and was for an hour in this state, in all the indecision and imbecility of a child. At last, she wrote a few scarcely legible lines to Crawley, forbidding him to see or think of her more. I despatched the note, and she was full of penitence, and gratitude, and tears. The next morning, when I wakened, I in my turn received a ...
— Tales and Novels, Vol. IV • Maria Edgeworth

... world. The bullet lodged somewhere about the brain, and it has produced, by its pressure, this peculiar form of imbecility. The past is an utter blank to him, and it is only for a short time every morning that he has the power of expressing ...
— Witness to the Deed • George Manville Fenn

... matter of curious inquiry to trace out how those species of soft-billed birds that continue with us the winter through subsist during the dead months. The imbecility of birds seems not to be the only reason why they shun the rigour of our winters; for the robust wryneck (so much resembling the hardy race of woodpeckers) migrates, while the feeble little golden-crowned wren, that shadow of a bird, braves our severest ...
— The Natural History of Selborne, Vol. 1 • Gilbert White

... she had at the first. Of their parts individually they know but very little; of the play as a whole they are absolutely ignorant. On the first representation, by which the reputation of a play is decided, they are so confused and imperfect, owing partly to their imbecility but more still to their indolence, that the sense of the author is mutilated, his characters travestied, and his piece rather burlesqued than performed. The reality of the scene depends on the passions excited in the actor listening almost as essentially as in the actor speaking; but at the end ...
— The Adventures of Hugh Trevor • Thomas Holcroft

... crimes; as may be seen in the examples of the philosophers who, though they endeavored to lead moral lives, failed to accomplish their designs, and were guilty of many notorious crimes. Such is the imbecility of man, when he undertakes to govern himself by his own strength, without ...
— American Lutheranism Vindicated; or, Examination of the Lutheran Symbols, on Certain Disputed Topics • Samuel Simon Schmucker

... appetizing breakfast—at which, to Dick's great satisfaction, the good man had permitted and congratulated himself to sit at table with a free-born American—he was even more loquacious. For what then, he would ask, was this incompetence, this imbecility, of France? He would tell. It was the vile corruption of Paris, the grasping of capital and companies, the fatal influence of the still clinging noblesse, and the insidious Jesuitical power of the priests. As for example, Monsieur "the Booflo-bil" had doubtless ...
— Tales of Trail and Town • Bret Harte

... would be very nice," foolishly observed Mr. Clarence, who was just now reduced to a state of imbecility by the stunning announcement of his ...
— For Woman's Love • Mrs. E. D. E. N. Southworth

... naturally persuades himself that he can keep his resolutions, nor is he convinced of his imbecility but by length of time and frequency of experiment[332]. This opinion of our own constancy is so prevalent, that we always despise him who suffers his general and settled purpose to be overpowered by an occasional desire. They, therefore, whom frequent failures have made desperate, cease to form ...
— Life Of Johnson, Vol. 2 • Boswell

... one-half or more of the body as the direct result; or the small arteries may have their walls so thickened as not to permit enough blood to circulate in order duly to nourish parts of the brain they supply; hence softening of the structure and more or less imbecility. ...
— The No Breakfast Plan and the Fasting-Cure • Edward Hooker Dewey

... of the state of independence in which her widowhood placed her to give herself up wholly to exercises of piety and penitence, and the education and care of her children. The latter occupation caused her much grief—the Count de Dunois, by his bad conduct and imbecility, and the Count de Saint Paul himself, the son so dearly beloved, by his precocious debaucheries and fiery impatience of character. Then, as by degrees they had less need of her care, she devoted herself deeper and deeper to expiation, lavishing her fortune to repair in the provinces ...
— Political Women, Vol. 2 (of 2) • Sutherland Menzies

... in the training of the young, it must be productive of the happiest effects.—While acted upon, under the guidance of Nature, its efficiency and power are astonishing. It is by means of this principle, that the infant mind, with all its imbecility and want of developement, acquires and retains more real knowledge in the course of a few months, than is sometimes received at school afterwards during as many years.—Few things are more cheering in prospect than the knowledge of this fact; for what may we not ...
— A Practical Enquiry into the Philosophy of Education • James Gall

... close upon that of the political power of Spain. The splendid empire of Charles V had sunk, from causes inherent in the policies of that over-ambitious monarch, through the somber bigotry of Philip II, the ineptitude of Philip III, the frivolity of Philip IV, to the imbecility of Charles II; and the death of the last of the Hapsburg rulers in 1700 left Spain in a deplorably enfeebled condition physically and intellectually. The War of the Succession (1701-1714) exhausted her internal strength still more, and the final acknowledgment of Philip ...
— Modern Spanish Lyrics • Various

... overcome with shame. The fact was evident—alas! only too evident—his father was incapable of command. James was simply astounded; he tried not to hear the cruel words that buzzed in his ears, but he could not help it—imbecility, crass idiocy, madness. It was worse than madness, the folly of it was almost criminal; he thought now that his father had ...
— The Hero • William Somerset Maugham

... one indomitable breast alone), my brother had an interview with the Chief, which he has subsequently described to me, and of which Hal could never speak without giving way to the deepest emotion. Mr. Washington had won no such triumph as that which the dare-devil courage of Arnold and the elegant imbecility of Burgoyne had procured for Gates and the northern army. Save in one or two minor encounters, which proved how daring his bravery was, and how unceasing his watchfulness, General Washington had met with defeat after ...
— The Virginians • William Makepeace Thackeray

... and Lancaster. Left an infant of three years, it was long before York became a party-leader, and probably he never would have disputed the succession but for the weakness of Henry VI, which amounted to imbecility, and the urging of stronger-minded men than himself. As it was, the open struggle began in 1455, and did not end until the defeat and capture of the person called Perkin Warbeck, in 1497. The greatest battles of English history took place in the course of these campaigns, and ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 10, No. 57, July, 1862 - A Magazine Of Literature, Art, And Politics • Various

... in my Journal of 1849, as having been visited by Archdeacon Wix. The children of three families were brought to be received into the Church. It was very sad to witness the ignorance, and almost imbecility, into which two of the three mothers, who had been born and brought up in this wilderness, were fallen. The third, who came from a distant settlement, and could read, was different, and superior in every ...
— Extracts from a Journal of a Voyage of Visitation in the "Hawk," 1859 • Edward Feild

... ballads had, as we have suggested, a certain aspect of silliness. It is well known that Addison's essays elicited the immediate objections of Dennis. The Spectator's "Design is to see how far he can lead his Reader by the Nose." He wants "to put Impotence and Imbecility upon us for Simplicity." Later Johnson in his Life of Addison quoted Dennis and added his own opinion of Chevy Chase: "The story cannot possibly be told in a manner that shall make less impression on ...
— Parodies of Ballad Criticism (1711-1787) • William Wagstaffe

... found in his "Consolation to Polybius." Polybius was one of those freedmen of the Emperor whose bloated wealth and servile insolence were one of the darkest and strangest phenomena of the time. Claudius, more than any of his class, from the peculiar imbecility of his character, was under the powerful influence of this class of men; and so dangerous was their power that Messalina herself was forced to win her ascendency over her husband's mind by making these men her supporters, and cultivating their favour. Such were "the most excellent ...
— Seekers after God • Frederic William Farrar

... Tolstoy, the late Ernest Crosbie and others, and endorsed by Mr Harris. Will it really stand fire? Mr Harris emphasizes the passages in which Shakespear spoke of mechanics and even of small master tradesmen as base persons whose clothes were greasy, whose breath was rank, and whose political imbecility and caprice moved Coriolanus to say to the Roman Radical who demanded at ...
— Dark Lady of the Sonnets • George Bernard Shaw

... high, and perfectly commanded by houses in front and rear. The captain in charge of the detachment knew nothing of his trade, and had been hoisted to a commission in return for the use of a few freeholders. The Irish read character quickly. They saw at a glance the marked imbecility of the devoted man; and by an imposition, from which any but an idiot would have recoiled, trapped the silly victim and, worse still, sacrificed those who had been unhappily ...
— International Weekly Miscellany, Vol. 1, No. 5, July 29, 1850 • Various

... of the land has been despised and trampled under foot. The Directors were not suffered either to nominate or to remove those whom they were empowered to instruct; from masters they were reduced to the situation of complainants,—a situation the imbecility of which no laws or regulations could wholly alter; and when the Directors were afterwards restored in some degree to their ancient power, on the expiration of the lease given to their principal servants, it became impossible ...
— The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol. VIII. (of 12) • Edmund Burke

... not look like an associate of Bodine's, and had a certain seriousness that demanded respect. As he looked closer into his wide, round face, seamed with small-pox, he fancied he saw even in its fatuous imbecility something of that haunting devotion he had seen on the refined features of the wife. ...
— Under the Redwoods • Bret Harte

... excellent grounds for doubting his ability to reconstruct; for suspecting what you will feel to be his pretentious breadth of view, his assumed omniscience. But if, on the other hand, thinking life in your sombre moments a nightmare of imbecility and in your more expansive moments a high adventure of immeasurable possibilities, you are straitened between cold despairs and immense hopes, you will readily forgive this irreverent, self-confident ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 146, March 11, 1914 • Various

... never been to Brighton, and of his own accord never would have gone; he was prejudiced against the place because its name has become suggestive of fashionable imbecility and the snobbishness which tries to model itself thereon; he knew that the town was a mere portion of London transferred to the sea-shore, and as he loved the strand and the breakers for their own sake, to think of them in such connection could be nothing but a ...
— New Grub Street • George Gissing

... from soft couches lift our languid eyes in pious resignation. I won't do it; and when a powerful horse is beneath me, carrying me like the wind, I feel that his strength is mine, and that I need not succumb to feminine imbecility or helplessness in ...
— A Young Girl's Wooing • E. P. Roe

... negative be found enticing? for, from the negative point of view, I flatter myself this volume has a certain stamp. Although it runs to considerably over a hundred pages, it contains not a single reference to the imbecility of God's universe, nor so much as a single hint that I could have made a better one myself—I really do not know where my head can ...
— The Pocket R.L.S. - Being Favourite Passages from the Works of Stevenson • Robert Louis Stevenson

... can suggest anything, from profound thought to imbecility; but in this case its suggestion was nil. That something had happened, that some change had taken place, was as patent to Loder as the darkness of the curtain or the band of light that crossed the floor, but what had occasioned ...
— The Masquerader • Katherine Cecil Thurston

... he to himself, "we reach the climax; pious imbecility can go no further. Among the subjects in sculpture in the ambulatory of the choir there is a group representing the Circumcision, Saint Joseph holding the Infant while the Virgin has a napkin ready and the High Priest is preparing ...
— The Cathedral • Joris-Karl Huysmans

... clearly dangerous, so we rushed round in Indian file, like braves on the warpath; and, by way of relieving the tedium, we speculated on the number of laps in a mile. Our proceedings seemed to strike the wild beasts in the opposite den as unaccountable imbecility. They grinned at us through the bars with as much delight as children might evince in the Zoological Gardens at a performance of insane monkeys. But their amusement was suddenly arrested. St. Peter appeared at the gate, flourishing his keys. It was ...
— Prisoner for Blasphemy • G. W. [George William] Foote

... little more than sixteen, came a letter to tell that she was wasting away in either atrophy or consumption, and that the doctors said the only hope for her was home and native air. Poor child! what home was there for her, with her sister-in-law absorbed in the care of her brother, whose imbecility was no spectacle for one in a critical state of health and failing spirits? We were at Arked at the time, and offered to go and fetch her (it was Dermot's kind thought), leaving the children ...
— My Young Alcides - A Faded Photograph • Charlotte M. Yonge

... walking till I die." Well, he walked and he walked—for months, some people say, and others years—until he reached a village in Mount Lebanon—a village of the Maronites renowned for foolishness. It was the reputation of their imbecility ...
— Oriental Encounters - Palestine and Syria, 1894-6 • Marmaduke Pickthall

... fairly spoken, I realised the full imbecility of this remark. My only excuse for making such a fatuous observation was that the near vicinity of this weird beauty had paralysed my reasoning faculties, so that I hardly knew what I was saying. And then she spoke ...
— The Argosy - Vol. 51, No. 1, January, 1891 • Various

... the 31st of October Maurice was more than usually a victim to this malady of distrust and barren speculation. He listened now approvingly to crude fancies that would formerly have brought a smile of contempt to his lips. Why should he not? Were not imbecility and crime abroad in the land? Was it unreasonable to look for the miraculous when his world was falling in ruins about him? Ever since the time he first heard the tidings of Froeschwiller, down there in front of Mulhausen, he had harbored a deep-seated feeling of ...
— The Downfall • Emile Zola

... wits of the day would be shocked by these rude humours of a parcel of servants. But all that can be said in this direction was said at the time by Horace Walpole, in a letter to a friend of his; and this criticism is so amusing in its pretence and imbecility that it is worth quoting at large. "Dr. Goldsmith has written a comedy," says this profound critic, "—no, it is the lowest of all farces; it is not the subject I condemn, though very vulgar, but the execution. The drift ...
— Goldsmith - English Men of Letters Series • William Black

... great point of difference,—that whereas, in Ned's wretched abode (a large, unsightly brick house), there were many wretched infants like himself, as well as helpless people of all ages, widows, decayed drunkards, people of feeble wits, and all kinds of imbecility; it being a haven for those who could not contend in the hard, eager, pitiless struggle of life; in the place the Doctor spoke of, a noble, Gothic, mossy structure, there were none but aged men, who had drifted into this quiet harbor to end their days in a sort of humble yet stately ease ...
— Doctor Grimshawe's Secret - A Romance • Nathaniel Hawthorne

... with more or less success. But I ought to warn you that two of the four who attempted it lost their lives; a third is a cripple for life, minus a leg; and only the fourth, who ended by arresting the wrong man, after all, had any degree of success. And now he is frightened almost into imbecility, for his life has been sworn away by the yeggmen, and he expects to be murdered every time ...
— A Woman at Bay - A Fiend in Skirts • Nicholas Carter



Words linked to "Imbecility" :   betise, fault, mistake, retardation, subnormality, foolishness, stupidity, imbecile, backwardness



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