Is there ever a time when the word “retard” or “retarded” is used without being offensive? Short answer…No.
We can have a linguistic argument about using it in its strict definition when referring to the delayed growth or development of something, but let’s be honest here….
That’s not how it is used…you know it and I know it.
The word retard is used as an insult. It is used to explain how useless and worthless something is. It is used to put someone down, belittle and denigrate them. This word has been used as an insult so comprehensively and for so long that the phrase “mental retardation” has been removed from medical use. Using the word means comparing something of no worth to a person with an intellectual disability. It means insulting someone by comparing them to someone with an intellectual disability.