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

The cheaper models in Tesla’s line-up have parts of their batteries disabled by the car’s software in order to limit their range. The Economist, "How the world will change as computers spread into everyday objects," 12 Sep. 2019 In London, equities traders were told their badges would be disabled by 11 a.m. Bloomberg, latimes.com, "Deutsche Bank’s big overhaul leaves investors unimpressed," 8 July 2019 Police used a marked SUV to ram the mail truck outside the Cinergy Movie Theater in Odessa, disabling the vehicle. Anchorage Daily News, "Texas shooter got gun at private sale after being denied in 2014 background check," 4 Sep. 2019 Police used a marked SUV to ram the mail truck outside the Cinergy Movie Theater in Odessa, disabling the vehicle. Paul J. Weber, chicagotribune.com, "Gunman in Texas shooting rampage that killed 7 obtained AR-style rifle in private sale, evading background check that blocked him in 2014," 3 Sep. 2019 Police used a marked SUV to ram the mail truck outside the Cinergy Movie Theater in Odessa, disabling the vehicle. Fox News, "Before mass shooting, Texas gunman 'was on a long spiral down,' investigator says," 3 Sep. 2019 Police used a marked SUV to ram the mail truck outside the Cinergy Movie Theater in Odessa, disabling the vehicle. CBS News, "Texas gunman called both police and FBI before deadly shooting rampage," 2 Sep. 2019 Police used a marked SUV to ram the mail truck outside the Cinergy Movie Theater in Odessa, disabling the vehicle. Jake Bleiberg, BostonGlobe.com, "Texas gunman was fired from job, called FBI before shooting," 2 Sep. 2019 Police used a marked SUV to ram the mail truck outside the Cinergy Movie Theater in Odessa, disabling the vehicle. Washington Post, "Police unsure why man went on West Texas shooting rampage," 2 Sep. 2019

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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Statistics for disable

Last Updated

11 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

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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