[ri-tahr-did] 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.

1800–10; retard + -ed2

nonretarded, adjective
unretarded, adjective

backward, disabled, handicapped.

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. Unabridged


[ri-tahrd, for 1–3, 5; ree-tahrd 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.
a contemptuous term used to refer to a person who cognitively impaired.
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.

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

retardingly, adverb

1. obstruct, check.

1. accelerate.

See retarded. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
1.  (tr) to delay or slow down (the progress, speed, or development) of (something)
2.  offensive (US) a retarded person
3.  offensive (US) a foolish person
[C15: from Old French retarder, from Latin retardāre, from re- + tardāre to make slow, from tardus sluggish; see tardy]

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

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

late 15c., from Fr. retarder (13c.), from L. retardare (see retardation). The noun is recorded from 1788 in the sense "retardation, delay;" from 1970 in offensive meaning "retarded person," originally Amer.Eng., with accent on first syllable

1810, pp. adj. from retard. In childhood development sense, "mentally slow," attested from 1895 (cf. It. tardivi).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang Dictionary

retard definition

  1. n.
    a rude nickname for a retarded person. (Derogatory and unkind.) : That retard is having a rough time.
  2. n.
    a stupid person. (Also a term of address.) : Don't be a retard! Get with it!
Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions by Richard A. Spears.Fourth Edition.
Copyright 2007. Published by McGraw-Hill Education.
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retarded definition

  1. mod.
    bad; defective. : This old DVD player is so retarded. Time for a new one.
Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions by Richard A. Spears.Fourth Edition.
Copyright 2007. Published by McGraw-Hill Education.
Cite This Source
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