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Retard, when used as a verb is to refer to delay or hold back in terms of progress or development, or to be delayed. As a noun, it is considered a dated, offensive and pejorative term when used to refer to a person who has a mental disability. It was previously used as a genuine term in medical contexts, though has since been succeeded with the term "intellectual disability" in many laws and documents throughout countries in the world. It is also used as an informal term to refer to a foolish or stupid person, though this informal usage has been viewed by many as controversial, mainly due to confusion to the words' history as a medical term.The word "retard" originally came from Latin, a synonym of "slow". It entered the English language in the 15th century, and was used to refer to delaying or holding back in terms of progress or development. The word "decelerate" would succeed "retard" overtime. "Retard" first became known as a medical term in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when medical texts began to describe children with "retarded mental development". Up until around the 1960s, the terms "moron", "idiot", "cretin" and "imbecile" were all genuine terms to refer to people with mental intellectual disabilities and low intelligence. These words were discontinued in that form when concerns arose that they were offensive, with "retard" and "retarded" replacing them. Since then, the terms "handicapped" (United States) and "disabled" (United Kingdom) have replaced "retard" and "retarded". In 2010, despite not typically being used in official context, "mental retardation" was still written in many of the United States' laws and documents, considered by many to be outdated. Barack Obama replaced the term with "intellectual disability" with the approval of Rosa's Law - which would require these laws and documents to phase out the terms with the "intellectual disability" term.Today, despite possessing a similar history to the former medical words "moron", "idiot", "cretin" and "imbecile" (all considered acceptable terms to refer to a foolish or stupid person in the present day), "retard" and "retarded" remain controversial when used in this form, mainly due to the word having a more recent history as a medical term.

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