[ ri-tahr-did ]
/ rɪˈtɑr dɪd /
Usually Offensive.


characterized by a slowness or limitation in intellectual understanding and awareness, emotional development, academic progress, etc.
Slang. stupid or foolish.


(used with a plural verb) people who are slow or limited in mental development (usually preceded by the): new schools for the retarded.

Origin of retarded

First recorded in 1800–10; retard + -ed2

usage note for retarded

In reference to low intellectual ability, the terms retarded, retardation, and mental retardation are now usually perceived as insulting. There are several acceptable alternatives. In general, someone with a mental, physical, or emotional disability may be described as developmentally disabled, or as a person with a developmental disability. If it is specifically a mental disability, the person may be described as cognitively impaired or intellectually (or mentally) disabled. Such a person may be referred to as an individual with a cognitive impairment or a person with an intellectual (or mental) disability. The slang term retard is a term of abuse used especially by children, though much less commonly than in the past. In both of its meanings, retard is perceived as insulting to disabled people. See also cripple.


non·re·tard·ed, adjective un·re·tard·ed, adjective

Definition for retarded (2 of 2)

[ ri-tahrd, for 1–3, 5; ree-tahrd for 4 ]
/ rɪˈtɑrd, for 1–3, 5; ˈri tɑrd for 4 /

verb (used with object)

to make slow; delay the development or progress of (an action, process, etc.); hinder or impede.

verb (used without object)

to be delayed.


a slowing down, diminution, or hindrance, as in a machine.
Slang: Disparaging and Offensive.
  1. a contemptuous term used to refer to a person who is cognitively impaired.
  2. a person who is stupid, obtuse, or ineffective in some way: a hopeless social retard.
Automotive, Machinery. an adjustment made in the setting of the distributor of an internal-combustion engine so that the spark for ignition in each cylinder is generated later in the cycle.
Compare advance.

Origin of retard

1480–90; < Latin retardāre to delay, protract, equivalent to re- re- + tardāre to loiter, be slow, derivative of tardus slow; see tardy

usage note for retard

See retarded.


re·tard·ing·ly, adverb

British Dictionary definitions for retarded (1 of 2)

/ (rɪˈtɑːdɪd) /


underdeveloped, esp mentally and esp having an IQ of 70 to 85 See also ESN, mental handicap, subnormal (def. 2)

British Dictionary definitions for retarded (2 of 2)


verb (rɪˈtɑːd)

(tr) to delay or slow down (the progress, speed, or development) of (something)

noun (ˈriːtɑːd)

US offensive a retarded person
US offensive a foolish person

Word Origin for retard

C15: from Old French retarder, from Latin retardāre, from re- + tardāre to make slow, from tardus sluggish; see tardy