able·​ism ˈā-bə-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce ableism (audio)
: discrimination or prejudice against individuals with disabilities
ableist adjective

Examples of ableism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Barbarin, who has cerebral palsy, offered her insight on the ableism that’s taken place in these conversations around Boseman, his cancer and his work, and the harm caused by romanticizing and weaponizing the ways in which disabled people choose to live their lives. Lisa Deaderick, San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 Sep. 2020 That idea of not recognizing our own internalized ableism or complicity in it is key to where the conversation goes next. Rosie Knight,, 28 Apr. 2021 An opportunity to consider ableism and social expectations. Nancy Doyle, Forbes, 3 Sep. 2021 In short, the STEM education of most students with disabilities is a low priority because of ableism—biases and preconceptions that assume disabled students can’t succeed. Joshua Miele, Time, 16 Dec. 2022 In this lovely conversation, activist Alice Wong and science journalist Ed Yong talk about the diversity of the natural world, the senses of organisms, ableism in science, the strangeness and unpredictability of sensory biology, and more. Cheri Lucas Rowlands, Longreads, 15 July 2022 Structural ableism is baked into U.S. institutions, policies, and procedures, much as how other sources of bias have structural foundations. Steven Barnett, STAT, 3 Jan. 2023 Some feel validated to see their own experiences of ableism and neglect reflected back to them. Lindsay Lee Wallace, Time, 27 Oct. 2022 Disability advocates told ABC News that this is a moment for many to acknowledge the ways in which ableism has become the norm. Kiara Alfonseca, ABC News, 26 Oct. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'ableism.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


-able (in disable, disabled) + -ism

First Known Use

1976, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of ableism was in 1976

Dictionary Entries Near ableism

Cite this Entry

“Ableism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Sep. 2023.

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