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disability

[ dis-uh-bil-i-tee ]
/ ˌdɪs əˈbɪl ɪ ti /
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See synonyms for: disability / disabilities on Thesaurus.com

noun, plural dis·a·bil·i·ties.
lack of adequate power, strength, or physical or mental ability; incapacity.
a physical or mental handicap, 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.
anything that disables or puts one at a disadvantage: His mere six-foot height will be a disability in professional basketball.
the state or condition of being disabled.
legal incapacity; legal disqualification.
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Origin of disability

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

synonym study for disability

1. 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.

usage note for disability

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.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

How to use disability in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for disability

disability
/ (ˌdɪsəˈbɪlɪtɪ) /

noun plural -ties
the condition of being unable to perform a task or function because of a physical or mental impairment
something that disables; handicap
lack of necessary intelligence, strength, etc
an incapacity in the eyes of the law to enter into certain transactions

usage for disability

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

Medical definitions for disability

disability
[ dĭs′ə-bĭlĭ-tē ]

n.
A disadvantage or deficiency, especially a physical or mental impairment that prevents or restricts normal achievement.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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