cripple

noun
crip·​ple | \ ˈkri-pəl How to pronounce cripple (audio) \

Definition of cripple

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a 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 : something flawed or imperfect

cripple

adjective

Definition of cripple (Entry 2 of 3)

: being lame, flawed, or imperfect

cripple

verb
crippled; crippling\ ˈkri-​p(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce crippling (audio) \

Definition of cripple (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to deprive of the use of a limb and especially a leg the accident left him crippled
2 : to deprive of capability for service or of strength, efficiency, or wholeness an economy crippled by inflation

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from cripple

Verb

crippler \ ˈkri-​p(ə-​)lər How to pronounce crippler (audio) \ noun
cripplingly \ ˈkri-​p(ə-​)liŋ-​lē How to pronounce cripplingly (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms for cripple

Synonyms: Verb

disable, incapacitate, lame, maim, mutilate

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for cripple

Verb

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 a condition of marked 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 bringing about impairment or limitation in a physical or mental ability. disabled by an injury sustained at work

Examples of cripple in a Sentence

Noun

He returned from war a cripple.

Verb

Higher taxes could cripple small businesses. an economy crippled by inflation
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

So a future reconciliation bill would not only cripple Obamacare and strip millions of Americans of health coverage obtained via the exchanges, but also kill the Medicaid expansion and throw millions more out of coverage. Charles P. Pierce, Esquire, "If Trump Wins, Paul Ryan's Budget Plan Will Destroy 'Ordinary Americans'," 7 Oct. 2016

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

His administration is aiming to cripple Iran’s economy and force policy changes by re-imposing sanctions, including on Iranian oil exports. Darlene Superville, The Denver Post, "In Mideast, Mike Pompeo seeks a global coalition against Iran," 23 June 2019 The rift has led to clashes at party meetings and crippled its ability to conduct normal business. Dylan Mcguinness, ExpressNews.com, "Bexar County Democratic Party appears to splinter after continuing rift," 12 June 2019 About how the thought of his big brother, scared in the smoke, still cripples him. Mike Newall, Philly.com, "After losing a brother, Joe Quinn thought war would save him - now he's saving other veterans | Mike Newall," 15 June 2018 While the attack may have destroyed the facilities where Syria combines its chemical agents, the strike likely will only cripple the country's ability to deploy certain agents, such as sarin gas, experts told NBC News. NBC News, "Trump's U.S.-led airstrike on Syria won't stop Assad's chemical capabilities, experts say," 14 Apr. 2018 The Nets’ trade was a franchise-crippling disaster resulting in zero trips to the conference finals and zero 50-win seasons. Dan Woike, latimes.com, "Anthony Davis trade brings a new look to Lakers and NBA free agency," 17 June 2019 The Sharks Stanley Cup window remains wide open No one will argue with you that a deal as large as Karlsson’s, in a league with a hard salary cap, has the potential to be crippling down the line. Dieter Kurtenbach, The Mercury News, "Kurtenbach: What Erik Karlsson’s mega contract means for the Sharks," 17 June 2019 The pilot of the aircraft, based in Japan, was not injured, but the incident highlights how even the most high tech aircraft can be instantly crippled—sometimes with fatal consequences—by a simple collision with wildlife. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "The F-35 Runs Into Another Expensive Problem: Birds," 15 May 2019 Find out how Huawei is basically forcing fans to buy the P30 Pro by crippling the P30. Pcworld Staff, PCWorld, "PCWorld's April Digital Magazine: Meet ConceptD, Acer's new PCs for creators," 10 May 2019

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

See More

First Known Use of cripple

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Adjective

13th century, in the meaning defined above

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for cripple

Noun

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about cripple

Dictionary Entries near cripple

criophore

crip

cripes

cripple

Cripple Creek

crippledom

cripplement

Statistics for cripple

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cripple

The first known use of cripple was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for cripple

cripple

noun

English Language Learners Definition of cripple

 (Entry 1 of 2)

old-fashioned + offensive : a person who cannot move or walk normally because of a permanent injury (such as a damaged leg or foot) or other physical problem
informal : a person who has emotional problems that prevent normal behavior with other people

cripple

verb

English Language Learners Definition of cripple (Entry 2 of 2)

: 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)

cripple

noun
crip·​ple | \ ˈkri-pəl How to pronounce cripple (audio) \

Kids Definition of cripple

 (Entry 1 of 2)

sometimes offensive
: 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.

cripple

verb
crippled; crippling

Kids Definition of cripple (Entry 2 of 2)

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

cripple

noun
crip·​ple | \ ˈkrip-əl How to pronounce cripple (audio) \

Medical Definition of cripple

 (Entry 1 of 3)

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

cripple

adjective

Medical Definition of cripple (Entry 2 of 3)

: being a cripple : lame

cripple

transitive verb
crippled; crippling\ -​(ə)-​liŋ How to pronounce crippling (audio) \

Medical Definition of cripple (Entry 3 of 3)

: to deprive of the use of a limb and especially a leg crippled by arthritis

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on cripple

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cripple

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for cripple

Spanish Central: Translation of cripple

Nglish: Translation of cripple for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cripple for Arabic Speakers

Comments on cripple

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

to form ideas or theories about something

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!