First appeared in English in 1891 through a translation of the nineteenth-century Italian criminologist Cesare Lombroso's work, Man of Genius. H G Wells used it in several of his books, most notably in Mankind in the Making of 1903, in which he derides the theories of Lombroso and the Victorian phrenologists: “Among such theorists none at present are in quite such urgent need of polemical suppression as those who would persuade the heedless general reader that every social failure is necessarily a ‘degenerate’, and who claim boldly that they can trace a distinctly evil and mischievous strain in that unfortunate miscellany which constitutes ‘the criminal class’... These mattoid scientists make a direct and disastrous attack upon the latent self-respect of criminals.”
- Displaying erratic behaviour
mattoid (plural mattoids)
- A person who displays such behaviour; a person of congenitally abnormal mind bordering on insanity or degeneracy.
- Compound of genius and fool. (Can we add an example for this sense?)
- OED (online) 2001
- Concise Oxford Dictionary 1964
- mattoid at OneLook Dictionary Search