One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A person suffering from dementia.
- ‘Nowadays, no sooner is an asylum built than it is filled with maniacs, suicidal melancholics, or senile dements in need of care and treatment.’
- ‘The Picts, to most people outside Scotland, are a totally mysterious and marginal dement in the ancient population of northern Britain.’
Late 15th century (as an adjective in the sense ‘demented’): from French dément or Latin demens, dement- ‘insane’. The noun use dates from the late 19th century.
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