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

Major movies largely ignored the LGBTQ population and failed to include many characters with disabilities. Brent Lang, chicagotribune.com, "Hollywood blockbusters featured record number of lead roles for women, people of color in 2018," 3 Sep. 2019 Thank you @levis for standing with Margot Robbie , Austin Butler & RAD by making a generous donation @youngcareoz that will help better the lives of youth with disabilities by providing housing and private care . Ingrid Schmidt, The Hollywood Reporter, "Costume Designer Arianne Phillips Debuts Hollywood Social Advocacy Talk Series," 31 Aug. 2019 Appleseed made special recommendations for SROs who work with children with disabilities. al, "Report: Police in Alabama schools need specialized training," 30 Aug. 2019 The only time Down syndrome is essential to the plot is when shining a light on the lack of government resources available for those with disabilities. Samantha Incorvaia, Detroit Free Press, "Odd-couple friendship anchors heartfelt ‘Peanut Butter Falcon’," 22 Aug. 2019 The state covers the costs of those services, but the employees who care for people with disabilities often are paid low wages. Andrew Oxford, azcentral, "New law would make Arizona cities pay for raising the minimum wage," 19 Aug. 2019 At a rental car office, meanwhile, check if there’s a separate line for customers with disabilities. Julia Buckley, Condé Nast Traveler, "How I Travel With My Invisible Disability," 19 Aug. 2019 Boutique, including a range of adaptive costumes for kids with disabilities. Hilary George-parkin, Vox, "Why is Halloween starting in the summer?," 16 Aug. 2019 Along with food reviews and prices, accessibility is a primary factor when people with disabilities choose where to dine out. The Washington Post, oregonlive.com, "Outback Steakhouse told a Maryland family to leave because their special-needs son was being too loud," 9 Aug. 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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Statistics for disability

Last Updated

17 Sep 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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Comments on disability

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