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cretin Line breaks: cretin
Pronunciation: /ˈkrɛtɪn/

Definition of cretin in English:


1 informal, offensive A stupid person (used as a general term of abuse).
Example sentences
  • Personally, I think it just shouts louder than any protest sign ever could that they are selfish, ignorant cretins.
  • I bet that those on the receiving end of such behaviour don't mind whether the villains are dubbed cretins or morons.
  • It's the work of a moral cretin and a political idiot.
2 Medicine , dated A person who is physically deformed and has learning difficulties because of congenital thyroid deficiency.
Example sentences
  • This congenital hypothyroidism, unlike the neurological cretin, is amenable to treatment with thyroid hormones.


Example sentences
  • It is a kind of baroque apotheosis of geopolitical cretinism.
  • It is called cretinism and it is characterised by inaction.
  • There is a kind of infantilism, a kind of cultural cretinism, which has flourished in areas of Scotland.
Example sentences
  • Or maybe the cretinous slob is confusing criticism with genocide.
  • But the cretinous behaviour of the few can never take away from the happy and celebratory atmosphere engendered by the many.
  • Anonymous bloggers often allow cretinous behavior in their comments sections.


Late 18th century: from French crétin, from Swiss French crestin 'Christian' (from Latin Christianus), here used to mean 'human being', apparently as a reminder that, though deformed, cretins were human and not beasts.

  • Cretin is now a term of abuse, but was originally a medical term for a person physically and mentally handicapped as a result of congenital thyroid deficiency. The word is from French crétin, from Swiss French crestin ‘Christian’, used to mean ‘human creature’ but in this context with a compassionate sense of ‘poor fellow’. Thyroid problems were once common in the Alps, where the soil lacks essential iodine.

Definition of cretin in:
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