usage note for able-bodied
First, defining the population who is not living with a physical disability as able-bodied diminishes those who are enabled by accommodation or adaptive aids. Combating ableism and embracing equal rights and opportunities means emphasizing the qualifications of the individual, whether or not that person uses assistive technology to access or participate in an activity.
Further, the term able-bodied does not fully align with the requirements of the modern job market, which is no longer exclusively defined by physical labor. Historically the descriptor able-bodied was used to distinguish nondisabled people from those living with a disability, and also from children, the elderly, and pregnant women. It is still used today in some government documentation to indicate eligibility for employment or military service.
In its use as a legal designation in administering programs for people in poverty, able-bodied has become a politicized word. When determining who is deserving of public aid, it is fair to expect those who are able to work to fully pursue opportunities that make them self-sufficient; financial assistance is allocated to those who are unable to support themselves. However, the insinuation that unemployed or underemployed people designated as able-bodied are choosing assistance over work out of laziness or greed does not take into account other barriers to employment, like insufficient education and training, mental illness, cognitive and emotional challenges, or other personal limitations that are not physical.
When not referring to a specific legal designation, it is better to refer to people as nondisabled , enabled , or not living with (a specified impairment), and to be as precise as possible.
OTHER WORDS FROM able-bodieda·ble-bod·ied·ness, noun
Words nearby able-bodied
How to use able-bodied in a sentence
The escort site Cowboys4Angels peddles chiseled, hot-bodied men and their smoldering model looks to women willing to pay.Career-Minded Women Turn to Male Escorts For No-Strings Fun and (Maybe) Sex|Aurora Snow|January 3, 2015|DAILY BEAST
Why they are so important for physically and cognitively disabled kids (and their able bodied peers).
The (very wealthy) de la Renta women wore bold colors, flared sleeves, full-bodied skirts and trousers.Fashion Designer Oscar de la Renta, American Great, Dead at 82|Tim Teeman|October 21, 2014|DAILY BEAST
GIF-able when he goes jogging in sweatpants, if you know what I mean.Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt Got Married and We’re Worried About Jennifer Aniston|Kevin Fallon, Tim Teeman|August 28, 2014|DAILY BEAST
The total “reality” that Kim offered to her fans made her brand incredibly popular, but it also made her so entirely mock-able.
He was a big-bodied, big-hearted, ruddy-faced, farmerlike man of fifty or so; and the service was proud of him.
It is followed by forty-four pages of argument and illustration relating exclusively to the able-bodied wage-earner.
The wonder is that between sword and halter there was any able-bodied man left in Munster.Ireland Under the Tudors, Vol. II (of 3)|Richard Bagwell
As in the Report itself, no definition is given in the Act of what was meant by "able-bodied persons."
We can find no explanation of, or reason for, the entire absence of any provision for independent women who were able-bodied.