Pronunciation [ri-tahrd, for 1–3, 5; ree-tahrd for 4]
–verb (used with object)
1. to make slow; delay the development or progress of (an action, process, etc.); hinder or impede.
–verb (used without object)
2. to be delayed.
3. a slowing down, diminution, or hindrance, as in a machine.
4. Slang: Disparaging.
a. a mentally retarded person.
b. a person who is stupid, obtuse, or ineffective in some way: a hopeless social retard.
5. 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.
It seems simple enough.
To call someone retarded. It's just a joke. Right?
Except maybe they are retarded.
Robbie was so small because he had IUGR- Inter Uterine Growth Retardation. My placenta was starving him.
Now his growth is retarded because he hasn't eaten properly in months.
His development is retarded because.. well, lots of reasons, probably.
We have no idea what his future holds. He might be brilliant. Or he might be mentally retarded.
And suddenly the word means a lot more. Suddenly I cringe. When the President compares his lacking bowling skills to the Special Olympics, I'm offended. Personally.
When someone makes a joke about being retarded, I'm angry. Hurt, too. But mostly angry.
How can someone be so insensitive? So callous? So.. socially retarded?
I hate to be the PC police. I do. But as I've gotten older and more intimately aware of different circumstances, I see why phrasing can be so important. Words hurt.
It isn't so much the word, but the flippant nature used when saying it. Haha, aren't retarded people funny? They're so stupid. And you're stupid, too.
I'm here to say that the only person who is stupid is the person who can't choose a better insult.
Let's leave this word behind us along with "at least."