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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 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

Rhymes with cripple



adjective crip·ple

Definition of cripple

  1. :  being lame, flawed, or imperfect

13th Century

First Known Use of cripple

13th century



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

crippledcrippling 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>.

CRIPPLE Defined for Kids



noun, crip·ple \ˈkri-pəl\

Definition of cripple for Students

  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.



verb crip·ple

Definition of cripple for Students


  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>

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).


to defraud especially of money

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