Idiot

meant originally a private person, one not engaged in any public office. Hence Jeremy Taylor says, “Humility is a duty in great ones, as well as in idiots” (private persons). The Greeks have the expressions, “a priest or an idiot” (layman), “a poet or an idiot” (prose-writer). As idiots were not employed in public offices, the term became synonymous with incompetency to fulfil the duties thereof. (Greek, idiotes.) (See Baron.)

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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