intellectual disability

noun

Definition of intellectual disability

: significant impairment in intellectual ability accompanied by deficits in skills necessary for independent daily functioning

Note: The term intellectual disability is now preferred over mental retardation especially in medical, educational, and regulatory contexts. Mental retardation is still widely used in speech and writing, though it may sometimes be considered offensive.

… Rosa's Law, which changed references in federal law from "mental retardation" to "intellectual disability" and references to a mentally retarded individual to an individual with an intellectual disability.— Victor R. Martinez

Examples of intellectual disability in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Even so, immigrant children with tuberculosis or eye diseases, and those suspected of having intellectual disabilities, could be and were separated from parents at ports of entry like Ellis Island. Paula Fass, Time, "If You're Shocked by Reports on Children at the Border, You Haven't Paid Attention to American History," 11 July 2019 The woman had been a patient at Hacienda since 1992 after suffering significant intellectual disabilities as a result of childhood seizures, her family told CNN. Chris Boyette, CNN, "The healthcare facility where a severely disabled woman gave birth may close after maggots were found on another resident," 18 June 2019 The man killed in Costco by a police officer was nonverbal and had intellectual disabilities, a relative says. Kirkpatrick Bado, USA TODAY, "Heiress lived life 'on her own terms'," 17 June 2019 Even those without intellectual disabilities typically lag behind their peers. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Poway launches pilot program aimed at mainstreaming special ed students," 12 July 2019 Randy Smyth was there representing New Danville, a nonprofit organization in Willis that provides programs for adults with intellectual disabilities. Jane Stueckemann, Houston Chronicle, "Wine & Food Week: H-E-B Wine Walk at Market Street draws large crowd for tastings, vino," 7 June 2019 But in the end, the meeting turned into a conversation between Barr and just one civil rights leader: Frederick Misilo, president of the Arc, which advocates for people with intellectual disabilities. Matt Zapotosky, Washington Post, "Barr promised to convene civil rights leaders to discuss police reform efforts. It didn’t go quite as planned.," 6 June 2019 The pair graduated high school in 2015 where their lives were changed after participating in Unified Track and Field, where people with and without intellectual disabilities compete in sports as teammates. Chris Sims, Indianapolis Star, "What you need to know about the IPL 500 Festival Parade," 21 May 2018 All but Hacienda HealthCare are run by the state, making Hacienda HealthCare the only private intermediate level facility for people with intellectual disabilities operating in Arizona. Stephanie Innes, azcentral, "Hacienda HealthCare to lose Medicaid contract after report of maggots found on patient," 20 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'intellectual disability.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of intellectual disability

1809, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about intellectual disability

Statistics for intellectual disability

Last Updated

29 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for intellectual disability

The first known use of intellectual disability was in 1809

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for intellectual disability

intellectual disability

noun

Medical Definition of intellectual disability

: significant impairment in cognitive functioning (as in learning, reasoning, or problem solving) accompanied by deficits in skills (as communication and self-care) necessary for independent daily functioning

Note: The term intellectual disability is now preferred over mental retardation especially in medical, educational, and regulatory contexts. Mental retardation is still widely used in speech and writing, though it may sometimes be considered offensive.

… Rosa's Law, which changed references in federal law from "mental retardation" to "intellectual disability" and references to a mentally retarded individual to an individual with an intellectual disability.— Victor R. Martinez

Comments on intellectual disability

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to move or obtain by small maneuvers

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!