quad·​ri·​ple·​gic ˌkwä-drə-ˈplē-jik How to pronounce quadriplegic (audio)
: one affected with partial or complete paralysis of both the arms and legs especially as a result of spinal cord injury or disease in the region of the neck
quadriplegia noun

Did you know?

Quadriplegia is the result of injury or illness, almost always affecting the spine. Though a paraplegic has lost the use only of his or her legs, quadriplegics are paralyzed in all four limbs. Today voice-activated wheelchairs help the quadriplegic get around, and houses can be equipped with similar systems to operate lights and appliances; monkeys have even been trained to assist quadriplegics with everyday tasks. The work of the quadriplegic actor Christopher Reeve has led to remarkable advances in developing new nerve connections, enabling some determined paraplegics and quadriplegics to walk again.

Examples of quadriplegic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web For example, something as simple as coughing up phlegm is exponentially more difficult and exhausting for a quadriplegic than for most non-disabled people. Andrew Pulrang, Forbes, 28 Mar. 2024 In a new video, Elon Musk’s startup is offering more details about how its first human patient, a quadriplegic named Nolan Arbaugh, is using the company’s brain chip to control a laptop. Michael Kan, PCMAG, 26 Mar. 2024 Moving a cursor on a display furthermore required the use of a mouth stick, a specialized assistive device used by quadriplegics. Christiaan Hetzner, Fortune, 21 Mar. 2024 The trial is open to patients who are quadriplegics as a result of a cervical spinal cord injury or have amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Jeremy Kahn, Fortune, 30 Jan. 2024 Through weaving back and forth in time, the filmmakers also examined two key moments in Christopher’s life: his casting as Clark Kent in 1978’s Superman and the life-changing injury that left him quadriplegic in 1995. Brendan Le, Peoplemag, 22 Jan. 2024 Pamela Pinckney’s son Hakeem Pinckney became a quadriplegic after a car crash. Ben Brasch, Washington Post, 29 Nov. 2023 In 1996, Noni — who’d long since remarried a Disney special-effects engineer and settled into a peaceful life on a ranch north of Los Angeles in Santa Clarita — became blind and a quadriplegic after a routine hysterectomy that went awry, resulting in an aneurysm, then a stroke. Gary Baum, The Hollywood Reporter, 10 Nov. 2023 A little more than four years prior to Leveille’s career ending, Patriots receiver Darryl Stingley was rendered a quadriplegic on a devastating smack by notorious Raiders defensive back Jack Tatum. Kevin Paul Dupont, BostonGlobe.com, 22 Oct. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'quadriplegic.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


quadriplegia, from New Latin

First Known Use

1921, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of quadriplegic was in 1921

Dictionary Entries Near quadriplegic

Cite this Entry

“Quadriplegic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quadriplegic. Accessed 24 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


quad·​ri·​ple·​gic ˌkwäd-rə-ˈplē-jik How to pronounce quadriplegic (audio)
: a person who is paralyzed in both arms and both legs

Medical Definition


1 of 2 adjective
quad·​ri·​ple·​gic ˌkwäd-rə-ˈplē-jik How to pronounce quadriplegic (audio)
: of, relating to, or affected with quadriplegia
quadriplegic patients


2 of 2 noun
: one affected with quadriplegia

called also tetraplegic

More from Merriam-Webster on quadriplegic

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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