verb (used with object), dis·a·bled, dis·a·bling.

to make unable or unfit; weaken or destroy the capability of; incapacitate: The detective successfully disabled the bomb. He was disabled by the accident.
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

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for disablement

Historical Examples of disablement

  • The disorder or the disablement is thus almost a family possession.

    Change in the Village

    (AKA George Bourne) George Sturt

  • Many a time they were rewarded for service and blood and disablement.


    Turgenev Ivan Sergeevich

  • You see, our artillery is intended for destruction, and not for disablement.

  • If disablement is your will, there is your way, and the only effectual way.

  • Ships in danger of wreck or disablement sometimes cast forth such precarious messengers calling for aid.

British Dictionary definitions for disablement


verb (tr)

to make ineffective, unfit, or incapable, as by crippling
to make or pronounce legally incapable
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 disablement



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