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

Athleticism comes in many forms, from world-dominating gymnasts to fitness gurus with disabilities. Brittney Mcnamara, Teen Vogue, "A Day at the Gym With Jessamyn Stanley," 9 May 2019 Camp Trusted Parents This summer marks the fifth one that Camp Trusted Parents, held on Queens University of Charlotte’s campus, has welcomed campers – from rising second graders to 21-year-olds – with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Page Leggett, charlotteobserver, "Campers and counselors benefit from this camp that welcomes those with disabilities," 7 June 2018 Bitty & Beau's Coffee prides itself on hiring great people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, "Man with Down syndrome gets huge surprise from boss," 5 June 2018 The program, which began at Lincoln-Way Central this school year, builds one-to-one friendships between people with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities through school and community friendship programs. Staff Report, Daily Southtown, "Community news: Lincoln-Way Central Best Buddies program lauded at state level," 10 May 2018 The Nicolas Maxim Award is given to students with a cognitive delay or some sort of intellectual, physical or developmental disability. Natalie Dreier, ajc, "Student born without hands wins handwriting award," 10 May 2018 The event will offer families who have children with autism, intellectual or developmental disabilities a chance to practice entering the airport, get boarding passes, go through security, and board the plane. Maria Clark, NOLA.com, "New Orleans airport hosts travel rehearsal for families with children with disabilities," 20 Apr. 2018 Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen are in Qatar as Global Ambassadors for Best Buddies, which works with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Charles Curtis, For The Win, "Tom Brady and Gisele are in Qatar riding camels," 17 Apr. 2018 Since then, McFadden has continued to use her voice to promote equality for people with disabilities. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "17-Time Paralympic Medalist Tatyana McFadden on Fighting for the Rights of Athletes With Disabilities," 14 May 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

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Statistics for disability

Last Updated

6 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for disability

The first known use of disability was in 1545

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on disability

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with disability

Spanish Central: Translation of disability

Nglish: Translation of disability for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of disability for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about disability

Comments on disability

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