Definition of disabled 

1a : impaired or limited by a physical, mental, cognitive, or developmental condition : affected by disability Decades of government policy and a Supreme Court decision … have established that public services for all disabled people must be provided in the least restrictive and most integrated environment possible.— Sallie Tisdale For disabled travelers—or anyone nursing an injury—successful trips require planning. … Rugged or remote areas may require some give and take on your part, including physical assistance or workarounds.— Linda Burbank … 4,000 disabled athletes from 125 nations competing in 18 sports.— John Shaw

b : incapacitated by illness or injury … 17.4% of all match-ending injuries, were attributable to OT (orthopedic trauma). Two such stoppages involved multiple roundhouse kicks directed at the lateral aspect of the knee. The disabled competitors were unable to continue because of marked pain with weight bearing.— George J. Buse and Robert M. Wood

2 of a device or mechanism : rendered inoperative (as by being damaged or deliberately altered) a disabled alarm They would have pulled out but they were waiting on the Iraqi police to finish their report and there was the issue of the disabled fuel truck …— David Abrams

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Examples of disabled in a Sentence

The organization is working to protect the rights of disabled veterans. the disabled man was unable to climb the stairs without help

Recent Examples on the Web

In one case a mother, who is disabled, brought in three of her children, all previously covered by Medicaid. Deborah Yetter, The Courier-Journal, "Kids wrongly denied care under Bevin's Medicaid cuts, dentists say," 3 July 2018 These are also available to persons with disabilities over age 18 who participate in school programs for people who are mentally or physically disabled. Rick Mauch, star-telegram, "Free summer lunches a tasty hit in Fort Worth area," 3 July 2018 The electronic opener had been disabled, and attempts to remove the hinges were unsuccessful due to safety concerns for the people inside, according to CBP. Kristina Davis, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Girl, 10, and mom rescued from compartment during border smuggling attempt," 3 July 2018 Her 36-year-old son, Cummings, is also intellectually disabled. Harold Brubaker, Philly.com, "Overcoming 'a bureaucratic demolition of human rights,' an intellectually disabled woman finds son taken at birth," 28 June 2018 That incident last July shocked Cocoa, after the video spread across social media, displaying the teens’ heartless disregard for Dunn, who was disabled. Breanna Edwards, The Root, "Teens Who Laughed at, Mocked, Failed to Help Florida Man Who Drowned Will Not Face Charges," 26 June 2018 Some use the opportunity to amplify their own horrific acts, such as the 2017 incident in which four people used Facebook Live to broadcast their attack on a mentally disabled man. Darcel Rockett, chicagotribune.com, "Familiar questions about ‘bystander effect’ arise after man berates woman for Puerto Rico shirt," 12 July 2018 Last summer, instead of helping him, a group of Florida teenagers used a smartphone to film the drowning of a 31-year-old disabled man. Chris Harris, PEOPLE.com, "Florida Teens Who Filmed, Mocked Drowning Disabled Man and Didn't Get Help Won't Face Charges," 25 June 2018 Authorities in Clackamas County are looking for a disabled man who went missing Saturday in Boring. Kale Williams, OregonLive.com, "Clackamas County Sheriff searching for missing disabled man," 27 May 2018

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

1633, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Phrases Related to disabled

the disabled

the disabled list

Statistics for disabled

Last Updated

14 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for disabled

The first known use of disabled was in 1633

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More Definitions for disabled


dis·abled | \dis-ˈā-bəld\

Kids Definition of disabled

: not having the ability to do certain mental or physical tasks (as because of illness, injury, or a condition present at birth) that a person is typically capable of doing



Medical Definition of disabled 

: incapacitated by illness, injury, or wounds also : physically or mentally impaired in a way that substantially limits activity especially in relation to employment or education



Legal Definition of disabled 

: having a disability

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