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 is 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.
- (tr) to delay or slow down (the progress, speed, or development) of (something)
- US offensive a retarded person
- US offensive a foolish person
late 15c., “make slow or slower,” from French retarder “restrain, hold (someone) back, keep (someone from doing something); come to a stop” (13c.) or directly from Latin retardare “make slow, delay, keep back, hinder” (see retardation). Related: Retarded; retarding.
The noun is recorded from 1788 in the sense “retardation, delay;” from 1970 in offensive meaning “retarded person,” originally American English, with accent on first syllable. Other words used for “one who is mentally retarded” include retardate (1956), retardee (1971).