See also: débile

English edit

Etymology edit

From Middle French débile (weak), from Latin dēbilis.

Pronunciation edit

  • enPR: dĕbēlʹ IPA(key): /dɛˈbiːl/
  • Rhymes: -iːl
  • Hyphenation: de‧bile

Adjective edit

debile (comparative more debile, superlative most debile)

  1. (obsolete) Weak; feeble. [from 16th c.]
    • 1903 February, O. Henry [pseudonym; William Sydney Porter], “Hygeia at the Solito”, in Everybody’s Magazine, volume VIII, number 2, New York, N.Y.: John Wanamaker, →ISSN, page 174, column 1:
      So, then, it was no surprise to the ranchhold when the buckboard spun to the door, and Raidler took up his debile protégé like a handful of rags and set him down upon the gallery.
  2. (historical) Having debilism. [from 20th c.]
    • 1935, Olof Kinberg, Basic Problems of Criminology, William Heinemann, page 181:
      Being a little debile and unclear of mind he did not realize the risks he was running by passing all his nights in the same bed as the daughter, while he himself was suffering continually from a dammed-up sexual drive.
    • 1979, E[rnst] Rudolf Froesch, translated by Terry Telger, “Endocrinology”, in Albert A[lois] Buehlmann, E[rnst] Rudolf Froesch, editors, Pathophysiology, New York, N.Y.: Springer-Verlag, →ISBN, page 202:
      Cretins are debile, hard of hearing, and small in stature.
    • 1999, Andrew Boyd, Baroness Cox: A Voice for the Voiceless, Lion, →ISBN, page 96:
      Debile’ patients suffered from moderate mental retardation or learning difficulty.

Related terms edit

Noun edit

debile (plural debiles)

  1. (historical) A person with debilism. [from 20th c.]
    Coordinate terms: idiot, imbecile
    • 1935, Olof Kinberg, Basic Problems of Criminology, William Heinemann, page 178:
      A very important group of the mentally abnormal, the oligophrenes, who — according to the degree of lack of intelligence — are called idiots, imbeciles, or debiles, are inter alia also predisposed to misbehaviour because they lack the ability to understand what to do in a situation demanding action.
    • 1954, Nauchni Trudove, volumes 1–2, page 52:
      As a rule debiles act on normalpsychologic[sic] inducements and their criminality is determined by social influences, which they are not apt to assimilate without conflicts. Therefore idiots are always irresponsible, but debiles are as a rule responsible.
    • 1956, William Line, Margery R. King, editors, Mental Health in Public Affairs: A Report, University of Toronto Press, page 216:
      Oligophrenes (debiles) are taught in special schools in the maintenance of the Ministry of Public Education of the R.S.F.S.R.
    • 1961, Abstracts on Criminology and Penology, volume 1, page 398, column 1:
      On the average delinquents have a normal intelligence; however, there is frequent neglect of intelligence. True debiles are admitted by the gang, to serve as an instrument of blind force.
    • 1962, Christian Astrup, Schizophrenia: Conditional Reflex Studies, Thomas, →ISBN, page 64:
      Idiots are often unable to develop stable motor conditional reflexes. Imbeciles and debiles are able to give conditional reflexes.
    • 1962 July, The President’s Panel on Mental Retardation: Report of the Mission to The Netherlands, [] U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, page 15:
      The Dutch use two basic terms to classify retarded children served by B.L.O. schools: debile and imbecile. In psychometric terms the upper limit of the debile classification is an intelligence quotient of 80 and the lower limit approximately 50 I.Q. [] The debiles are most frequently recognized in the early years of the ordinary primary schools.
    • 1964, Jakob Øster, editor, International Copenhagen Congress on the Scientific Study of Mental Retardation, Copenhagen, Denmark, August 7th-14th, 1964, page 781:
      Spherical refraction in Debiles and Imbeciles / Fig. 3. The percentage values for the debiles are placed at the right side of the columns, the values for the imbeciles are placed at the left sides.
    • 1967, South African Journal of Pedagogy, volumes 1–5, pages 64–65:
      The uncomplicated untalented: This is the pupil whose scholastic progress is that of a debile, although his intellectual potential should enable him to cope with ordinary classwork. [] Another group of “pseudo-debiles.” are those pupils whose problems will not automatically disappear with time and whose eventual progress will demand exceptional educational aid. [] Pupils who have been classified as mentally handicapped due to neurological defects or psycho-neurological dysfunction, experience more problems in the field of visual perception than the debile.
    • 1968, Вопросы клинической неврологии и психиатрии [Voprosy kliničeskoj nevrologii i psixiatrii], volume 7, page 134:
      Among the feebleminded patients 78.5. per cent were debiles, 16.3 per cent imbeciles, 5.1 per cent idiots. [] The debiles were more inclined to criminal acts than other feebleminded patients.
    • 1972, Education and Training of the Mentally Retarded, volumes 7–8, Division on Mental Retardation, Council for Exceptional Children, page 169, column 2:
      The Russians have retained the old French system of classification. Debiles are the highest group of retarded, which would roughly correspond to our educable mentally retarded.
    • 1974, Edwin W. Martin, Jr., Donald Blodgett, Stella A. Edwards, William C. Geer, John W. Melcher, “Administration of Education for Handicapped Children in the Soviet Union”, in James J. Gallagher, editor, Windows on Russia: United States–USSR Seminar on Instruction of Handicapped Children, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, page 4:
      In the Soviet system the term debiles is used to refer to youngsters who seem comparable to those we identify as educable. Schools for debiles are known as “auxiliary” schools. The Ministry of Health deals with schools for debiles with multiple handicaps and for “imbeciles.”
    • 1993, Lev Semenovich Vygotsky, translated by Jane E. Knox and Carol B. Stevens, edited by Robert W. Rieber and Aaron S. Carton, The Collected Works of L. S. Vygotsky, volume 2 (The Fundamentals of Defectology [Abnormal Psychology and Learning Disabilities]), New York, N.Y.: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers, →ISBN, page 200:
      The most desirable social combinations to which children are attracted are idiots and imbeciles and imbeciles and debiles. [] Similarly, when debiles are put with other debiles, their numbers averaged 2.0 people with an average duration of 9.2 minutes. On the other hand, when imbeciles and debiles were put together, their collectives averaged 5.2 members and the duration was 12.8 minutes.
    • 1999, Andrew Boyd, Baroness Cox: A Voice for the Voiceless, Lion, →ISBN, page 96:
      Debiles were incapable of subtle intellectual feelings, which Soviet psychiatry defined as duty, comradeship and satisfaction.
    • 2023, Mark M. Rich, Invisible Eugenics: How the Medical System and Public Schools Are Killing Your Children, 2nd edition:
      With the Binet-Simon Test, a mental level and age could be quantified. Those with subnormal intelligence were considered idiots, moderate mental deficients were imbeciles, and debiles were those with mild mental defects.

Anagrams edit

German edit

Adjective edit

debile

  1. inflection of debil:
    1. strong/mixed nominative/accusative feminine singular
    2. strong nominative/accusative plural
    3. weak nominative all-gender singular
    4. weak accusative feminine/neuter singular

Italian edit

Etymology edit

Borrowed from Latin dēbilis. Compare debole.

Adjective edit

debile (plural debili)

  1. (obsolete) weak
    Synonym: debole

Related terms edit

Latin edit

Adjective edit

dēbile

  1. nominative/accusative/vocative neuter singular of dēbilis

Polish edit

Pronunciation edit

  • IPA(key): /dɛˈbi.lɛ/
  • Rhymes: -ilɛ
  • Syllabification: de‧bi‧le

Noun edit

debile

  1. nominative/vocative plural of debil

Swedish edit

Adjective edit

debile

  1. definite natural masculine singular of debil