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From French crétin (cretin, idiot), from crestin, an Alpine dialectal form of chrétien, from Vulgar Latin christiānus in the lost sense of “anyone in Christendom”, often with a sense of “poor fellow”. Doublet of Christian.



cretin (plural cretins)

  1. (pathology) A person who fails to develop mentally and physically due to a congenital hypothyroidism. [from 1779]
  2. (by extension, derogatory) An idiot.
    • 1969, Irving Wallace, The Seven Minutes
      When I challenged the symbolism, tried to make the professor consider the book as a piece of realism, he regarded me as if I were an absolute cretin. He got very supercilious and condescending []


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