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90s Slang You Should Know


[dis-ey-buh ld] /dɪsˈeɪ bəld/
physically or mentally impaired, injured, or incapacitated.
(used with a plural verb) physically or mentally impaired persons (usually preceded by the):
Ramps have been installed at the entrances to accommodate the disabled.
Origin of disabled
First recorded in 1625-35; disable + -ed2
Related forms
nondisabled, noun, adjective
semidisabled, adjective
undisabled, adjective
Usage note
See cripple.


[dis-ey-buh l] /dɪsˈeɪ bəl/
verb (used with object), disabled, disabling.
to make unable or unfit; weaken or destroy the capability of; incapacitate: The detective successfully disabled the bomb.
He was disabled by the accident.
to make legally incapable; disqualify.
First recorded in 1475-85; dis-1 + able
Related forms
disablement, noun
disabler, noun
1. enfeeble, paralyze. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for disabled
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Call a disabled officer of my regiment—for he is disabled, ain't you, Grace?

    The Virginians William Makepeace Thackeray
  • He scanned the horizon anxiously, but could see no sign of the disabled tender.

    The Root of Evil Thomas Dixon
  • Sherman rapidly sent North all his sick and disabled men, and all baggage that could be spared.

    Campfire and Battlefield Rossiter Johnson
  • Blow after blow he warded off, till at last his own arm was disabled.

    The Grateful Indian W.H.G. Kingston
  • Two disabled soldiers hobbled across the bridge and disappeared in the deep shade of the avenue.

    High Adventure James Norman Hall
British Dictionary definitions for disabled


  1. lacking one or more physical powers, such as the ability to walk or to coordinate one's movements, as from the effects of a disease or accident, or through mental impairment
  2. (as collective noun; preceded by the): the disabled
Usage note
Nowadays it is better to refer to people with physical disabilities of various kinds by describing the specific difficulty in question rather than talking about the disabled as a group, which is considered somewhat offensive. Some people also object to the word disabled to refer to facilities for people with disabilites, and prefer the word accessible


verb (transitive)
to make ineffective, unfit, or incapable, as by crippling
to make or pronounce legally incapable
to switch off (an electronic device)
Derived Forms
disablement, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for disabled

"incapacitated," 1630s, past participle adjective from disable. Earlier it meant "legally disqualified" (mid-15c.).



mid-15c., from dis- "do the opposite of" + ablen (v.) "to make fit" (see able). Related: Disabled; disabling. Earlier in the same sense was unable (v.) "make unfit, render unsuitable" (c.1400).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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disabled in Medicine

disabled dis·a·bled (dĭs-ā'bəld)
Impaired, as in physical functioning. n.
Physically impaired people considered as a group. Often used with the.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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