View synonyms for disability


[ dis-uh-bil-i-tee ]


, plural dis·a·bil·i·ties.
  1. lack of adequate power, strength, or physical or mental ability; incapacity.

    Synonyms: deficit, impairment

    Antonyms: capacity, ability

  2. a physical or mental impairment, especially one that hinders or prevents a person from performing tasks of daily living, carrying out work or household responsibilities, or engaging in leisure and social activities.
  3. anything that disables or puts one at a disadvantage:

    His mere six-foot height will be a disability in professional basketball.

  4. the state or condition of being disabled.
  5. legal incapacity; legal disqualification.


/ ˌdɪsəˈbɪlɪtɪ /


  1. the condition of being unable to perform a task or function because of a physical or mental impairment
  2. something that disables; handicap
  3. lack of necessary intelligence, strength, etc
  4. an incapacity in the eyes of the law to enter into certain transactions

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Many deaf and hard of hearing people object to the use of the phrase hearing disability

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Sensitive Note

Disability is a general term for one or more functional limitations in carrying out major life activities. A disability may be physical, mental, or sensory. The language used to describe disabilities and people with disabilities has changed over time, and older words and phrases like cripple, handicapped, or special needs are no longer recommended and often cause offense. In many cases there is no reason to mention someone’s disability at all; however, when you do introduce disability as a part of an individual’s whole self, it is usually preferable to be specific: “a woman with cerebral palsy” rather than generically “a woman with a disability.” Sometimes the important information is a person’s membership in the disability community, in which case the umbrella term disability is appropriate: “employer accommodation for an employee with a disability.” Some people, especially in the disability rights community, prefer to write disability as dis/ability, (dis)ability, or disAbility in an effort to emphasize ability and minimize ableism. In the same spirit, some also use the words able and ability to mean disabled or disability, as in: “Able team members are asked to share accessibility concerns with their team leader” or “The city council will defer to the recommendations of the ability committee.” This use of able and ability is criticized by some for being unclear or overly euphemistic and is not preferred over the straightforward terms disabled and disability.

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Word History and Origins

Origin of disability1

First recorded in 1570–80; dis- 1 + ability

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Synonym Study

Disability, inability imply a lack of power or ability. A disability is a functional limitation, physical or other: excused because of a physical disability; a temporary disability. Inability is a lack of ability, usually because of an inherent lack of talent, power, etc.: inability to talk; inability to do well in higher mathematics.

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Example Sentences

If they’re designed well, for example, AI-based learning tools have been shown to improve children’s critical-thinking and problem-solving skills, and they can be useful for kids with learning disabilities.

Central Aroostook Association, a Presque Isle nonprofit that helps children with intellectual disabilities, switched to the co-op last year to save 20% on its health premiums, said administrator Tammi Easler.

From Fortune

Users with disabilities might also want to compare their statistics to their non-wheelchair-using friends.

Anyone from an underrepresented group — including people of color, women, LGBTQ people and people with disabilities — is welcome to apply to be a mentee.

MTS changed its vetting process in March 2011 after the agency reported a spike in the number of seniors and people with disabilities with reduced-fare passes.

An IQ below 70 generally indicates someone with intellectual disability (ID).

As a matter of dollars and cents, America in the short term may be able to afford disability and food stamps.

Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa, a longtime disability advocate, has made HCBS a priority, a Harkin aide told The Daily Beast.

Jason Kingsley, the son of one of the producers, would go on to appear 55 times on the show talking about his disability.

What if the pain her mother and doctors observed had nothing to do with disability, but was in fact pain?

Their disability however has been largely removed by statutes in all the states, as we shall learn in another place.

But a disability arising after the statute has begun to run in his favor will not prevent it from running.

In the face of such motives, in the disability under which I labor of stopping the evil, I had to seek my own safety.

On the 14th of October, 1862, Mr. Walter was honorably discharged from the service on account of disability.

(b) For total or partial disability for less than five years, 60 per cent.





disadisability clause