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 Also, developers can choose to disable syncing cloud game saves, so some games like Splatoon 2 and Pokémon Sword and Shield won't transfer over. Eric Ravenscraft, Wired, 8 Oct. 2021 If it were connected, automatic updates would incur extra fees and possibly disable the software. Carolyn Kellogg, Los Angeles Times, 4 Oct. 2021 Kamikaze drones and low-flying helicopters have also been used to disable air defense. Sebastien Roblin, Forbes, 30 Sep. 2021 Tyra has developed tools to understand exactly how new cancer drugs stick to the proteins they’re meant to disable and is using that information to design drugs that won’t be thwarted by common tumor mutations. San Diego Union-Tribune, 20 Sep. 2021 To mitigate this vulnerability, please update Windows to the latest version, or disable the Spooler service. Andy Meek, BGR, 29 June 2021 The video shows a hooded and masked burglar approach the house from the driveway and disable the camera at about 2:22 p.m., nearly an hour and a half after the couple left for their errands. Annie Vainshtein, San Francisco Chronicle, 20 Sep. 2021 Video game consoles can be set to only play age-appropriate content; plus, parents can disable features like chatting online when playing multiplayer games. Marc Saltzman, USA TODAY, 5 Sep. 2021 December 31 - North Korea misses the deadline to disable its weapons facilities. CNN, 12 Sep. 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

15 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Disable.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disable. Accessed 24 Oct. 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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