The word retard was widely accepted in the late-1900s to refer to people with mental disabilities; however it is now more commonly used as an insult.

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Known as Rosa's Law, it is a bill that changed references in federal law; the term mental retardation was replaced by mental disability.

Additionally, the phrase "mentally retarded individual" was replaced with "an individual with an intellectual disability".

Rosa's Law was named after Rosa Marcellino, a nine-year-old girl with Down Syndrome.

Many communities, particularly in North America, regard the word as no longer socially acceptable.

The fact that it is still commonly used has led to a continuing debate.

A common replacement is the phrase “the r-word.” Most commonly when retard is being used in its pejorative form, it is not being directed at people with mental disabilities.

Instead, people use retard when they want to call their friend stupid, an idiot, or a loser.

At this time, it was used in a way to describe the slowing down or the diminishing of something.

The first time that any form of retard was used to describe mentally disabled people was during the 1960s when "there was a push among disability advocates to use the label mental retardation." Retard was not used to refer to mentally disabled people until 1985.

It was widely accepted to refer to people who are mentally disabled as mentally retarded, or as a retard.

From there, it turned quickly into a pejorative term, as people began to use it interchangeably with words like stupid, or idiot.