differently abled


: having a disability : disabled sense 1a
The sports program and foundation offers a dozen different sporting events for differently abled athletes, plus instruction about modeling, acting and public speaking.Lynnette Hintze
sometimes objected to as an awkward or condescending euphemism
… the #saytheword campaign to urge both the media and everyday speakers to use the words disabled and disability rather than mealy-mouthed euphemisms such as differently abledEllen Samuels

Examples of differently abled in a Sentence

won a gold metal in the Paralympics, an international Olympic competition for the differently abled
Recent Examples on the Web To be a dark-skinned Black woman in this world — particularly if your identity also intersects with being fat, or differently abled, or older, or unconventionally attractive, or trans — is to be a constant target of indifference, invisibilization, neglect, suspicion, violence. Allure Editors, Allure, 29 Dec. 2021 Kelly, an Australian The X-Factor sensation who describes himself as differently abled, is looking to drive greater inclusivity and accessibility in the film, TV and music industries via Outlyer by ending stigmas around people with disabilities. Etan Vlessing, The Hollywood Reporter, 9 May 2022 In her newest book, Black Disability Politics, Dr. Sami Schalk, Associate Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison discusses the parallels between racial activism and advocacy for the differently abled. Lynnette Nicholas, Essence, 25 Oct. 2022 This week, Level Up U’s 104 participants graduated from the pilot program, 73% of whom are from non-majority backgrounds, including women, veterans, the differently abled, and people of color. Paolo Confino, Fortune, 30 Sep. 2022 There is still a huge amount of work to be done, especially with people who are differently abled. Marta Balaga, Variety, 5 Aug. 2022 But this alone doesn’t bring more women, people of color, the differently abled, and folks from the LBGTQIA+ community into the business and culture of outdoor recreation. James Edward Mills, Outside Online, 4 Feb. 2020 It’s not very common to see characters who are differently abled in these kinds of narratives. Wilson Chapman, Variety, 9 June 2022 Organizations should also work closely with individuals who are knowledgeable about accessibility to better understand policies and practices that need to be adopted or amended to better accommodate those who are differently abled. Janice Gassam Asare, Forbes, 29 Dec. 2021 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1980, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of differently abled was in 1980

Dictionary Entries Near differently abled

Cite this Entry

“Differently abled.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/differently%20abled. Accessed 28 Feb. 2024.

Medical Definition

differently abled

dif·​fer·​ent·​ly abled ˈdif-ərnt-lē-ˈā-bəld, ˈdif-(ə-)rənt- How to pronounce differently abled (audio)
: having a disability : disabled sense 1
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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