[ ey-buh-liz-uhm ]

  1. discrimination against disabled people: laws to prevent ableism, racism, and sexism in the workplace.

  2. the tendency to regard people with a disability as incomplete, diminished, or damaged, and to measure the quality of life with a disability against a nondisabled standard: Ableism reinforces the idea that disability is a personal tragedy.

Origin of ableism

First recorded in 1980–85; able + -ism

usage note For ableism

Other words from ableism

  • a·ble·ist, adjective, noun

Words Nearby ableism Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use ableism in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for ableism


/ (ˈeɪbəlˌɪzəm) /

  1. discrimination against disabled or handicapped people

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