disability

noun
dis·​abil·​i·​ty | \ ˌdis-ə-ˈbi-lə-tē How to pronounce disability (audio) \

Definition of disability

1 : a physical, mental, cognitive, or developmental condition that impairs, interferes with, or limits a person's ability to engage in certain tasks or actions or participate in typical daily activities and interactions Scientists have tentatively linked the reading disability known as dyslexia to a bevy of brain disturbances.Science News How, with his severe disability, has Hawking been able to out-think and out-intuit his leading colleague-competitors …— Kip S. Thorne Yet one ends up admiring him for his devotion to the disability that could have unmade his career as an actor. It is through his deafness that we hear his story.— Lennard J. Davis also : impaired function or ability Sarcopenia is a loss of muscle mass and strength that normally occurs with aging, and it's a major cause of frailty and disability in the elderly. — Andrew Weil Thrombolytic therapy has been used in patients with acute ischemic stroke to restore cerebral blood flow, reduce ischemia, and limit neurologic disability. — Werner Hacke — see also intellectual disability, learning disability
2a(1) : an impairment (such as a chronic medical condition or injury) that prevents someone from engaging in gainful employment … monthly payment to which a worker is entitled upon retirement or disability under the federal social security system …— Robert I. Mehr
(2) : an impairment (such as spina bifida) that results in serious functional limitations for a minor
b : a program providing financial support to a person affected by disability … those who fit the criteria for dysthymia were more likely to have physical and emotional problems and more likely to be on Medicaid or Social Security disability than those with acute depression.— Melinda Beck also : the financial support provided by such a program … he collects disability on account of his exposure to Agent Orange during his years as an Army MP in Vietnam. — Jason Fagone
3 : a disqualification, restriction, or disadvantage economic disabilities
4 : lack of legal qualification to do something … Defoe … dramatised the gravity of the problem in the morally desperate expedient which Roxana is forced to adopt to overcome the legal disabilities of women.— Ian Watt

Examples of disability in a Sentence

She has learned to keep a positive attitude about her disability. disabilities such as blindness and deafness a program for children with disabilities It's a serious disease that can cause disability or death. After he injured his back he had to quit his job and go on disability.
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Recent Examples on the Web Georgians who are 75 years old or older, have a physical disability, or fall into other minor categories would still be allowed to cast one. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Georgia Republicans Are Working to Rig Elections So They Never Lose Again," 5 Feb. 2021 Like the original FlyEase, the GO FlyEase trainers were designed to make the act of putting on and taking off shoes for the one in four people who have a disability easier. Eliza Huber, refinery29.com, "Here’s What Nike’s First Hands-Free Shoe Means For People With Disabilities," 3 Feb. 2021 Rafaty is the founder of DylanListed, an organization with the goal of helping to find services and gainful employment for people who self-identify as having a disability. Teri Webster, Dallas News, "Plano man wins national award for his advocacy work," 3 Feb. 2021 The bill would only allow absentee voting under particular circumstances, including for voters who are 75 or older, have a physical disability or will be absent from their precinct on the date of the election. Ben Nadler, ajc, "Georgia Senate GOP introduce bills to limit mail voting," 2 Feb. 2021 Bookman said requiring IDs could also be a barrier for people experiencing homelessness, who have a disability or are on the margins of society and unable to get an ID. From Usa Today Network And Wire Reports, USA TODAY, "VP Harris sets example, Bow Wow apologizes, vaccine shortages: News from around our 50 states," 21 Jan. 2021 The person who discarded the ballots is thought to have a mental disability, according to the Washington Post. Nicholas Rowan, Washington Examiner, "'Insufficient evidence': Justice Department closes Pennsylvania election investigation," 15 Jan. 2021 Landry received his juris doctorate and Master in Business Administration from Tulane University and practiced disability and federal administrative law. NOLA.com, "New Orleans, Baton Rouge area People in Business for Feb. 7, 2021," 7 Feb. 2021 As alleged in the related civil complaint, the statement said, Newton, either directly or through Arbor, targeted vulnerable patients who were low-income, on disability or suffering from depression or addiction. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, "Two Mass. woman arrested in $100 million home healthcare fraud scam, federal prosecutors say," 1 Feb. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'disability.' 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 disability

1545, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for disability

dis- + ability, after disable

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Time Traveler for disability

Time Traveler

The first known use of disability was in 1545

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Statistics for disability

Last Updated

28 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Disability.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disability. Accessed 28 Feb. 2021.

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More Definitions for disability

disability

noun
dis·​abil·​i·​ty | \ ˌdi-sə-ˈbi-lə-tē How to pronounce disability (audio) \
plural disabilities

Kids Definition of disability

: a condition (as one present at birth or caused by injury) that damages or limits a person's abilities : the state of being disabled

disability

noun
dis·​abil·​i·​ty | \ ˌdis-ə-ˈbil-ət-ē How to pronounce disability (audio) \
plural disabilities

Medical Definition of disability

1 : a physical, mental, cognitive, or developmental condition that impairs, interferes with, or limits a person's ability to engage in certain tasks or actions or participate in typical daily activities and interactions Scientists have tentatively linked the reading disability known as dyslexia to a bevy of brain disturbances.Science News How, with his severe disability, has Hawking been able to out-think and out-intuit his leading colleague-competitors …— Kip S. Thorne also : impaired function or ability Thrombolytic therapy has been used in patients with acute ischemic stroke to restore cerebral blood flow, reduce ischemia, and limit neurologic disability. — Werner Hacke — see also intellectual disability, learning disability
2a(1) : an impairment (as a chronic medical condition or injury) that prevents someone from engaging in gainful employment
(2) : an impairment (as spina bifida) that results in serious functional limitations for a minor
b : a program providing financial support to a person affected by disability

disability

noun
dis·​abil·​i·​ty
plural disabilities

Legal Definition of disability

1 : inability to pursue an occupation because of a physical or mental impairment specifically : inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity because of a medically determinable physical or mental impairment that can be expected to result in death or to be of long continued or indefinite duration in accordance with the Social Security Act — see also benefit, Americans with Disabilities Act — compare incapacity, occupational disease
2 : lack of legal qualification to do something a minor's disability

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Comments on disability

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