able·​ism | \ ˈā-bə-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce ableism (audio) \

Definition of ableism

: discrimination or prejudice against individuals with disabilities

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Other Words from ableism

ableist \ ˈā-​bə-​ˌlist How to pronounce ableism (audio) \ adjective

Examples of ableism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The show depicts her daily life, using the podcast form to explore how ableism manifests. Eric Mcquade, The Atlantic, "The 50 Best Podcasts of 2020," 26 Dec. 2020 Ziegler's casting prompted scorn and accusations of ableism, which is defined as discrimination against those with disabilities. David Oliver, USA TODAY, "'I should have just shut up': Sia walks back comments after being criticized for ableism," 22 Dec. 2020 That is the embodiment of ableism — not seeing past someone’s disability. Washington Post, "My daughter’s tween ’tude is a welcome reminder that she’s so much more than her disability," 21 Dec. 2020 In contrast, Anne Hathaway recently apologized for her character’s hands in The Witches after disability advocates spoke out about the implicit ableism and the potential impact on children with limb differences. Alaina Leary,, "Sia, Stories About Autism Should Centre Autistic People. Period.," 23 Nov. 2020 Ziegler's casting prompted scorn and accusations of ableism, which is defined as discrimination against those with disabilities. David Oliver, USA TODAY, "Sia, after being criticized for ableism, defends portrayal of autism in new film," 20 Nov. 2020 Still, both create cause for concern, particularly in regard to how incarceration, health care access and the persuasive (and bipartisan) ideology of ableism have plagued so much of the coronavirus response in the United States. Steven W. Thrasher, Scientific American, "We Finally Have a COVID Strategy," 11 Nov. 2020 And in body positivity, some of the most evident ways this manifests are the undercurrents of ableism that, often unintentionally, further the marginalization of disabled, disfigured, and chronically ill people. Your Fat Friend, SELF, "7 Seemingly Empowering Body-Positive Phrases That Actually Reinforce Ableism," 31 Oct. 2020 What does his decision to keep his cancer diagnosis a secret say about our culture’s ableism? Lisa Deaderick, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Chadwick Boseman and his work were inspirational, but not because of ‘pushing through’ cancer," 20 Sep. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ableism.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of ableism

1981, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for ableism

-able (in disable, disabled) + -ism

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Time Traveler for ableism

Time Traveler

The first known use of ableism was in 1981

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Statistics for ableism

Last Updated

9 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ableism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Jan. 2021.

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