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cripple

[krip-uh l] /ˈkrɪp əl/
noun
1.
  1. Offensive. a term used to refer to a person who is partially or totally unable to use one or more limbs.
  2. an animal that is similarly disabled; a lame animal.
  3. Offensive. a person who is disabled or impaired in any way:
    a mental cripple.
2.
anything that is impaired or flawed.
3.
a wounded animal, especially one shot by a hunter.
4.
Carpentry. any structural member shorter than usual, as a stud beneath a windowsill.
5.
Delaware Valley. a swampy, densely overgrown tract of land.
verb (used with object), crippled, crippling.
6.
to make a cripple of; lame.
7.
to disable; impair; weaken.
adjective
8.
Carpentry. jack1 (def 28).
Origin
950
before 950; Middle English cripel, Old English crypel; akin to creep
Related forms
crippler, noun
cripplingly, adverb
uncrippled, adjective
Usage note
When referring to someone for whom it is difficult or impossible to walk or move without some kind of external aid like crutches or a wheelchair, sensitivity is called for. The words cripple and crippled are no longer considered appropriate. Although these terms have been in use since before the year 950, since the mid-1900s they have become increasingly uncommon and are now regarded as insulting. Since the late 20th century, the terms handicapped and the handicapped, once thought to be acceptable alternatives, have also become somewhat offensive. (Handicapped remains acceptable, however, in certain set phrases like handicapped parking.) Attempts to replace crippled with the milder euphemistic term physically challenged were sidetracked by a virtual explosion of satirical imitations like economically challenged (poor), ethically challenged (immoral), and vertically challenged (short). The currently acceptable terms are disabled and, when referring to groups, the phrase people with disabilities, or somewhat less commonly, the disabled. These terms are not only less likely to offend, they are more useful. While cripple and crippled traditionally denoted permanent impairments of one or more limbs, disabled is a broader, more comprehensive word that can refer to many different kinds of physical or mental impairments, whether temporary or permanent.
cripple and crippled are not deemed offensive when referring to an inanimate object or an animal. And cripple can be used freely as a verb, especially metaphorically, as in Failing to upgrade the computer system will cripple our business. See also retarded.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for crippled
  • Because they're crippled, or too old and enfeebled to pursue deer, boars and other wildlife.
  • The corn-spirit was probably thus represented as lame because he had been crippled by the cutting of the corn.
  • Students are crippled because unnecessary requirements decrease the students' likelihood to graduate in a timely manner.
  • One of his sons, however, was thrown out of a window and crippled for life.
  • Some suspect that she was shot while trying to escape, others say her torturers have blinded and crippled her.
  • The economy is hamstrung-still crippled by a debt overhang.
  • He was the lame duck, crippled by scandal, and she was the rising political star.
  • Fuel rods at the crippled reactors have been exposed to air.
  • The aim was partly to show that the authorities were steadily bringing the crippled reactors under control.
  • They could be crippled by their pension liabilities.
British Dictionary definitions for crippled

cripple

/ˈkrɪpəl/
noun
1.
(offensive) a person who is lame
2.
(offensive) a person who is or seems disabled or deficient in some way: a mental cripple
3.
(US, dialect) a dense thicket, usually in marshy land
verb
4.
(transitive) to make a cripple of; disable
Derived Forms
crippler, noun
Word Origin
Old English crypel; related to crēopan to creep, Old Frisian kreppel a cripple, Middle Low German kröpel
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for crippled

cripple

n.

Old English crypel, related to cryppan "to crook, bend," from Proto-Germanic *krupilaz (cf. Old Frisian kreppel, Middle Dutch cropel, German krüppel, Old Norse kryppill). Possibly also related to Old English creopan "to creep" (creopere, literally "creeper," was another Old English word for "crippled person").

v.

mid-13c., "to move slowly," from cripple (n.). Meaning "make a cripple of, lame" is from early 14c. Related: Crippled; crippling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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crippled in Medicine

cripple crip·ple (krĭp'əl)
n.
One that is partially disabled or unable to use a limb or limbs. v. crip·pled, crip·pling, crip·ples
To cause to lose the use of a limb or limbs.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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