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 Our goal: keep brothers and sisters together, and help children with disabilities. Maria Polletta, azcentral, "Full text: Arizona Gov. Ducey's 2020 State of the State speech," 13 Jan. 2020 The jobs’ physically demanding nature also tends to exclude candidates with disabilities. Tyler Aquilina, EW.com, "How assistants, and The Assistant, are challenging the culture of Hollywood," 12 Jan. 2020 One example is improving accessibility at intersections for folks living with disabilities. Darcy Costello, The Courier-Journal, "Get to know the dozens of candidates running for Louisville Metro Council in 2020," 10 Jan. 2020 By 2014, as his heart became weaker, Andy had to stop working and go on disability. Caroline Chen, ProPublica, "The Family Wanted a Do Not Resuscitate Order. The Doctors Didn’t.," 31 Dec. 2019 Of the 80 dependents with coverage based on a disability, 23 have Medicaid coverage, 26 are on Medicare and another 25 have coverage under both programs. Andy Davis, Arkansas Online, "Insurance chief: Pulling 80 dependents' coverage," 11 Dec. 2019 In his resignation letter, McGrath called for an independent review into the Union’s policies on disability and a professional review of staff training and security system. Madeline Roache, Time, "Oxford Union President Resigns After Blind Student Forcibly Dragged From Debate Hall," 20 Nov. 2019 Kelly, who has been on disability leave from the force for several months, is scheduled to make his first appearance before a Chicago Police Board hearing officer Nov. 7. Jeff Coen, chicagotribune.com, "Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson: Officer should be fired for shooting a childhood friend and lying about it for years," 18 Oct. 2019 Some are on disability, but researchers at the IZA Institute of Labor Economics say that doesn't fully account for the problem. Aimee Picchi, CBS News, "The U.S. economy's hidden problem: Men without jobs," 2 Oct. 2019

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

17 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Disability.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disability. Accessed 29 January 2020.

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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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