disabled

[dis-ey-buh ld]
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noun
  1. (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 formsnon·dis·a·bled, noun, adjectivesem·i·dis·a·bled, adjectiveun·dis·a·bled, adjective

Usage note

See cripple.

disable

[dis-ey-buhl]
verb (used with object), dis·a·bled, dis·a·bling.
  1. to make unable or unfit; weaken or destroy the capability of; incapacitate: The detective successfully disabled the bomb. He was disabled by the accident.
  2. to make legally incapable; disqualify.

Origin of disable

First recorded in 1475–85; dis-1 + able
Related formsdis·a·ble·ment, noundis·a·bler, noun

Synonyms for disable

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018


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British Dictionary definitions for disabled

disabled

adjective
    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

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

disable

verb (tr)
  1. to make ineffective, unfit, or incapable, as by crippling
  2. to make or pronounce legally incapable
  3. to switch off (an electronic device)
Derived Formsdisablement, 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

Word Origin and History for disabled
adj.

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

disable

v.

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

disabled in Medicine

disabled

[dĭs-ābəld]
adj.
  1. Impaired, as in physical functioning.
n.
  1. 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.