Warm Southern Breeze

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Understanding Morons

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, August 29, 2021

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Recently, a reader responded to an entry about Afghanistan, writing in part, that, “Calling them “morons” for not being educated on this in a country that is still partly stuck in the stone age seems a tad bit inappropriate.”

The reader’s thoughts were duly noted, and had some bearing upon a portion of the entry – the introduction. That individual could have written a recipe for spongecake in response, and it likely would have been published. But, a thoughtful, intelligent, cogent, somewhat compelling, and expansive argument was made in response to the commentary – which is more than can be said for some other sites, where diatribes, thoughtless, mindless jibber-jabbering, and provocative commentary is sad par for the course.

But it was the word “moron” that aroused my curiosity, so to be certain, I sought to investigate further the origin, derivation and historical use of the word – its etymology. Here’s what I found about the word “moron” on the EtymologyOnline website:

moron (n.)

1910, medical Latin, “one of the highest class of feeble-minded persons,” from Greek (Attic) mōron, neuter of mōros “foolish, dull, sluggish, stupid,” a word of uncertain origin. The former connection with Sanskrit murah “idiotic” (see moratorium) is in doubt. Latin morus “foolish” is a loan-word from Greek.

Adopted by the American Association for the Study of the Feeble-minded with a technical definition “adult with a mental age between 8 and 12;” used as an insult since 1922 and subsequently dropped from technical use. Linnæus had introduced morisis “idiocy.”

The feeble-minded may be divided into: (1) Those who are totally arrested before the age of three so that they show the attainment of a two-year-old child or less; these are the idiots. (2) Those so retarded that they become permanently arrested between the ages of three and seven; these are imbeciles. (3) Those so retarded that they become arrested between the ages of seven and twelve; these were formerly called feeble-minded, the same term that is applied to the whole group. We are now proposing to call them morons, this word being the Greek for “fool.” The English word “fool” as formerly used describes exactly this grade of child—one who is deficient in judgment or sense. [Henry H. Goddard, in “Journal of Proceedings and Addresses” of the National Education Association of the United States, July 1910]

• The Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition, defines “moron” as, anobsolete term for a person with the highest grade of mental retardation, equivalent to the modern classification “mild mental retardation.”

• Farlex Partner Medical Dictionary states that “This outmoded and imprecise term is best avoided in medical speech and writing because of its pejorative lay connotations.

• Segen’s Medical Dictionary, writes this of the word, stating that it is “An obsolete term formerly used for an individual with mild mental retardation (IQ 50–69). Vox populi – A derogatory term used indiscriminately for an obtuse person, regardless of that person’s tested IQ.”

Of course, I have often said, “There’s no moron like an oxymoron.”

And you can quote me on that.

But the term, now often considered a pejorative, has fallen out of favor with the “influencers” of society, social media platform morons who Read the rest of this entry »

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