disable

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

Symantec, which distributed pcAnywhere, knew vaguely of the theft back in 2006 but only spoke up about it after the code leaked, along with the warning that users should disable or uninstall the software. Shannon Liao, The Verge, "A major election software maker allowed remote access on its systems for years," 17 July 2018 North Korea could also submit a list of facilities or equipment to be disabled or dismantled and then allow the United States to inspect disarmament procedures. Washington Post, "World watching 2 North Korea summits for signs of nuke deal," 23 Apr. 2018 In a 2017 security advisory, Microsoft offered suggestions about how to avoid the attacks, like disabling DDE for various Office suite programs. Lily Hay Newman, WIRED, "How Hackers Turn Microsoft Excel's Own Features Against It," 27 June 2019 The operation impaired Iran’s nuclear program by disabling centrifuges that were enriching uranium. Dustin Volz, WSJ, "U.S. Launched Cyberattacks on Iran," 23 June 2019 After the Lion Air crash, Boeing sent pilots and airlines a checklist of steps to take if MCAS malfunctioned, including disabling the software and hand-cranking a wheel to manually rotate part of the plane’s tail and point the nose up. David Koenig, BostonGlobe.com, "Pilots criticize Boeing for mistakes on its grounded jet," 19 June 2019 After the Lion Air crash, Boeing sent pilots and airlines a checklist of steps to take if MCAS malfunctioned, including disabling the software and hand-cranking a wheel to manually rotate part of the plane’s tail and point the nose up. Washington Post, "Pilots criticize Boeing for mistakes on its grounded jet," 19 June 2019 Mind-bending drugs are helping more people recover from disabling mental disorders. Liza Gross, Discover Magazine, "Psychedelics Live Up to Early Promise," 16 Mar. 2019 But Trump has made quick work of disabling American leadership of the liberal world order. Jon Talton, The Seattle Times, "‘It’s the economy, stupid,’ and the bad luck of George H.W. Bush," 4 Dec. 2018

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

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Last Updated

19 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for disable

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

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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

: to make unable or incapable He disabled the computer system.

disable

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on disable

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with disable

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for disable

Spanish Central: Translation of disable

Nglish: Translation of disable for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of disable for Arabic Speakers

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