disable

verb
dis·​able | \ dis-ˈā-bəl How to pronounce disable (audio) , diz-ˈā- \
disabled; disabling\ dis-​ˈā-​b(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce disable (audio) , diz-​ˈā-​ \

Definition of disable

transitive verb

1a : to make ineffective or inoperative disable a bomb For victims of smartphone theft, the ultimate justice is hitting a button that disables the device, turning it into a worthless rectangular paperweight.— Heather Kelley … gene editing makes it possible to change or disable a single gene without changing the "meaning" of the rest of the genome.— Kat McGowan
b : to impair physically or mentally : to cause disability in Automobile accidents kill nearly 50,000 people each year. … Accidents maim or disable another 80,000.— Matt Clark and Mary Hager Diet-related Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease disable and kill people …— Mark Bittman
2 : to deprive of legal right, qualification, or capacity … the injured party was released from the bonds of marriage; but the offender, during life, or a term of years, was disabled from the repetition of nuptials.— Edward Gibbon

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Other Words from disable

disablement \ dis-​ˈā-​bəl-​mənt How to pronounce disable (audio) , diz-​ˈā-​ \ noun
physical disablement Nor does it tackle the disablement of any North Korean program to enrich uranium. — Thomas Omestad
disabling adjective
Bipolar disorder is one of the world's 10 most disabling conditions, taking away years of healthy functioning from individuals who have the illness. — David J. Kupfer This is a rare, disabling pain disorder in which ordinary sensation such as touch, warmth and coolness are perceived as painful and minor knocks are agonizing. — Maia Szalavitz

Choose the Right Synonym for disable

weaken, enfeeble, debilitate, undermine, sap, cripple, disable mean to lose or cause to lose strength or vigor. weaken may imply loss of physical strength, health, soundness, or stability or of quality, intensity, or effective power. a disease that weakens the body's defenses enfeeble implies a condition of marked weakness and helplessness. enfeebled by starvation debilitate suggests a less marked or more temporary impairment of strength or vitality. the debilitating effects of surgery undermine and sap suggest a weakening by something working surreptitiously and insidiously. a poor diet undermines your health drugs had sapped his ability to think cripple implies causing a serious loss of functioning power through damaging or removing an essential part or element. crippled by arthritis disable suggests bringing about impairment or limitation in a physical or mental ability. disabled by an injury sustained at work

Examples of disable in a Sentence

a promising athlete who was severely disabled in a plane crash disabled the controls for unauthorized users
Recent Examples on the Web In fact, Citizen Lab researchers and others suggest that Apple should simply provide an option to disable iMessage entirely. Lily Hay Newman, Wired, 25 Aug. 2021 But Facebook spokesman Joe Osborne later told Wired that the consent decree was not a reason to disable the researchers’ accounts. NBC News, 6 Aug. 2021 The SMOTHER Act to allow audience members to grab and disable any cellphone that goes off during a concert or play. Washington Post, 29 July 2021 Police were soon able to locate and disable the vehicle near Benham Street and Mix Avenue when the three boys fled and began running towards Vantage Road. Jessika Harkay, courant.com, 21 July 2021 Additionally, users can disable inbound remote printing through Group Policy. Get Alexa smart plugs with 11,000+ 5-star reviews for $4.87 each with coupon code 3591TPTU! Andy Meek, BGR, 29 June 2021 Sue McCormick, chief executive of GLWA said last week that the flooding was caused by an intense amount of rain — more than what typically falls in June — which, at times, overwhelmed parts of the system, but did not disable it completely. Christine Macdonald, Detroit Free Press, 15 July 2021 Antibodies generated by a future version of this vaccine would disable them from entering human cells. Sarah Midkiff, refinery29.com, 12 Apr. 2021 Deputies and a citizen were able to disable the out-of-control boat as the Lakes Area Dive Team searched for Moore. Star Tribune, 16 July 2021

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for disable

Middle English disablen "to deprive of legal rights" (in past participle disabled), borrowed from Anglo-French desabler, from des- dis- + able able, or from abler "to permit, make able to inherit," derivative of able able

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Time Traveler for disable

Time Traveler

The first known use of disable was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near disable

disability insurance

disable

disabled

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Last Updated

9 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Disable.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disable. Accessed 17 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for disable

disable

verb
dis·​able | \ dis-ˈā-bəl How to pronounce disable (audio) \
disabled; disabling

Kids Definition of disable

1 : to cause (something) to be unable to work in the normal way He disabled the alarm.
2 : to impair physically or mentally : to cause disability in an illness that disabled thousands

disable

transitive verb
dis·​able | \ dis-ˈā-bəl, diz- How to pronounce disable (audio) \
disabled; disabling\ -​b(ə-​)liŋ How to pronounce disable (audio) \

Medical Definition of disable

: to impair physically or mentally : to cause disability in Automobile accidents kill nearly 50,000 people each year. … Accidents maim or disable another 80,000.— Matt Clark and Mary Hager Diet-related Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease disable and kill people …— Mark Bittman

disable

transitive verb
dis·​able
disabled; disabling

Legal Definition of disable

1 : to deprive of legal right, qualification, or capacity
2 : to make incapable or ineffective specifically : to cause to have a disability

Other Words from disable

disablement noun

More from Merriam-Webster on disable

Nglish: Translation of disable for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of disable for Arabic Speakers

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