Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary
1

cripple

play
noun crip·ple \ˈkri-pəl\

Definition of cripple

  1. 1 a sometimes offensive :  a lame or partly disabled person or animal b :  one that is disabled or deficient in a specified manner <a social cripple>

  2. 2 :  something flawed or imperfect



Examples of cripple in a sentence

  1. He returned from war a cripple.



Origin and Etymology of cripple

Middle English cripel, from Old English crypel; akin to Old English crēopan to creep — more at creep


First Known Use: before 12th century


2

cripple

adjective crip·ple

Definition of cripple

  1. :  being lame, flawed, or imperfect



13th Century

First Known Use of cripple

13th century


3

cripple

verb crip·ple

Simple Definition of cripple

  • : to cause (a person or animal) to be unable to move or walk normally

  • : to make (something) unable to work normally : to cause great damage to (something)

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of cripple

crippled

crippling

play \-p(ə-)liŋ\
  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to deprive of the use of a limb and especially a leg <the accident left him crippled>

  3. 2 :  to deprive of capability for service or of strength, efficiency, or wholeness <an economy crippled by inflation>

crippler

play \-p(ə-)lər\ noun

cripplingly

play \-p(ə-)liŋ-lē\ adverb

Examples of cripple in a sentence

  1. Higher taxes could cripple small businesses.

  2. an economy crippled by inflation



14th Century

First Known Use of cripple

14th century

Synonym Discussion of cripple

maim, cripple, mutilate, batter, mangle mean to injure so severely as to cause lasting damage. maim implies the loss or injury of a bodily member through violence <maimed by a shark>. cripple implies the loss or serious impairment of an arm or leg <crippled for life in an accident>. mutilate implies the cutting off or removal of an essential part of a person or thing thereby impairing its completeness, beauty, or function <a tree mutilated by inept pruning>. batter implies a series of blows that bruise deeply, deform, or mutilate <an old ship battered by fierce storms>. mangle implies a tearing or crushing that leaves deep wounds <a soldier's leg mangled by shrapnel>.

weaken, enfeeble, debilitate, undermine, sap, cripple, disable mean to lose or cause to lose strength or vigor. weaken may imply loss of physical strength, health, soundness, or stability or of quality, intensity, or effective power <a disease that weakens the body's defenses> . enfeeble implies an obvious and pitiable condition of weakness and helplessness <enfeebled by starvation>. debilitate suggests a less marked or more temporary impairment of strength or vitality <the debilitating effects of surgery>. undermine and sap suggest a weakening by something working surreptitiously and insidiously <a poor diet undermines your health> <drugs had sapped his ability to think>. cripple implies causing a serious loss of functioning power through damaging or removing an essential part or element <crippled by arthritis>. disable suggests a usually sudden crippling or enfeebling <disabled soldiers received an immediate discharge>.

Rhymes with cripple


CRIPPLE Defined for Kids

1

cripple

play
noun crip·ple \ˈkri-pəl\

Definition of cripple for Students

sometimes offensive

  1. :  a disabled person who is unable to fully use one or both of his or her arms or legs Hint: In the past, this word was not considered offensive. In recent years, however, some people have come to find the word hurtful, and you may offend someone by using it.




2

cripple

play
verb crip·ple

Definition of cripple for Students

crippled

crippling

  1. 1 :  to cause to lose the use of one or more arms or legs <The accident crippled the boy.>

  2. 2 :  to make useless or powerless <… fear can so cripple a person that he cannot think or act. — Jean Craighead George, Julie of the Wolves>




Medical Dictionary

1

cripple

play
noun crip·ple \ˈkrip-əl\

Medical Definition of cripple

  1. sometimes offensive :  an individual having a physical disability and especially a physically impaired leg or foot




2

cripple

adjective crip·ple

Medical Definition of cripple

  1. :  being a cripple :  lame




3

cripple

transitive verb crip·ple

Medical Definition of cripple

crippled

;

crippling

\-(ə)-liŋ\play
  1. :  to deprive of the use of a limb and especially a leg <crippled by arthritis>





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up cripple? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

of striking ability or excellence

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

two-chairs-on-a-pier-by-the-ocean-in-summer

Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?

hiemal estival vernal brumal
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ