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.
Recent Examples on the Web Windsor residents who rent and are 65 and older or are over 18 and on Social Security disability may be eligible for the rebate depending on income. Hartford Courant, 5 May 2022 Berling alleged in his lawsuit the company discriminated against him based on a disability and retaliated against him for demanding a reasonable accommodation to it. Chron, 17 Apr. 2022 Jeanetta Jones was on disability in December when she was stopped by Brookside police while driving home just after 2 p.m. one afternoon, the lawsuit filed in federal court in north Alabama this week claims. John Archibald | Jarchibald@al.com, al, 16 Apr. 2022 But more than three decades after the Americans with Disabilities Act — which prohibits discrimination based on a person's disability — became federal law, advocates say inequities persist in health care. Michael Roppolo, CBS News, 28 Feb. 2022 All of the housemates are on disability, but collectively able to live independently. Washington Post, 25 Feb. 2022 When the pandemic hit, the Sperrys spent most of their time at home to protect Jeff, who is diabetic, suffers from high blood pressure and is on disability after suffering a spinal injury. Andrea Salcedo, Anchorage Daily News, 9 Feb. 2022 As a recipient of the Solidarity Fund, Flowers has been able to continue his activism and speaking out at labor rallies while on disability due to medical issues related to his Lupus diagnosis. Jonathan Vanian, Fortune, 28 Jan. 2022 According to the advocacy group The Valuable 500, only 4% of businesses are focusing on disability as part of their DEI efforts. Nerys Mutlow, Forbes, 21 Dec. 2021 See More

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.

First Known Use of disability

1545, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for disability

dis- + ability, after disable

Learn More About disability

Time Traveler for disability

Time Traveler

The first known use of disability was in 1545

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Dictionary Entries Near disability

disa

disability

disability clause

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Statistics for disability

Last Updated

23 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Disability.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disability. Accessed 29 May. 2022.

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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 interferes with or limits a person's ability to engage in certain physical or mental tasks or actions

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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