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

D’Arnaud, who turns 30 in February, has been on the disabled list in five straight seasons as injuries limited him to 366 major league games, an average of 73 per season. Ronald Blum, The Seattle Times, "AP source: Wilson Ramos, Mets agree to $19M, 2-year deal," 16 Dec. 2018 Inspired by the dawn of research into genetics, wealthy, influential, and progressive Americans often threw their weight behind mass sterilizations of disabled people. Kelsey Piper, Vox, "What should you do if you win the lottery? Start a foundation.," 29 Oct. 2018 Additionally, the audit — conducted between July 2014 and December 2016 — determined that more than 10,000 requests for handicapped vehicle signs for disabled people were also processed for people who were no longer alive. Nicole Darrah, Fox News, "Massachusetts RMV handed out nearly 2,000 licenses to dead people, audit finds," 6 Sep. 2018 Some advocates for disabled people who need drinking straws have spoken out against the bans, leading to exceptions to some cities’ proposed rules. Bob Tita, WSJ, "The Summer of Plastic-Straw Bans: How We Got There," 7 Aug. 2018 For disabled people especially, the initiative sucks, some say. Oona Goodin-smith, Philly.com, "Families of Cosmo DiNardo murder victims speak out, Pa. to pay $2M to fight teacher shortage | Morning Newsletter," 13 July 2018 But those alternate straws are often inadequate for disabled people, who need safe, sturdy, flexible straws. Emily Atkin, The New Republic, "Critics of Starbucks’ Straw Ban Are Missing the Point," 12 July 2018 Ableism and inaccessibility are systemic issues that disabled people grapple with on a daily basis. Ace Ratcliff, SELF, "I Rely On Closed Captions to Enjoy a Show And I Don't Appreciate Netflix's Way of Censoring Them," 10 July 2018 Witnesses said that many who were unable to flee — including sick, older and disabled people, and children — were burned alive in their homes or had their throats slit, according to the investigators. Nick Cumming-bruce, New York Times, "South Sudan Forces Killed and Raped Hundreds in Brutal Campaign, U.N. Says," 10 July 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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Statistics for disabled

Last Updated

5 Jan 2019

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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Comments on disabled

What made you want to look up disabled? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


tremendous in size, volume, or degree

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