9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[dis-ey-buh ld] /dɪsˈeɪ bəld/
physically or mentally impaired, injured, or incapacitated.
(used with a plural verb) physically or mentally impaired persons (usually preceded by the):
Ramps have been installed at the entrances to accommodate the disabled.
Origin of disabled
1625-35; disable + -ed2
Related forms
nondisabled, noun, adjective
semidisabled, adjective
undisabled, adjective
Usage note
See cripple.


[dis-ey-buh l] /dɪsˈeɪ bəl/
verb (used with object), disabled, disabling.
to make unable or unfit; weaken or destroy the capability of; incapacitate: The detective successfully disabled the bomb.
He was disabled by the accident.
to make legally incapable; disqualify.
1475-85; dis-1 + able
Related forms
disablement, noun
disabler, noun
1. enfeeble, paralyze. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for disabled
  • The device has also found advocates among educators and, in many remarkable ways, among the disabled.
  • And now we've disabled an entire generation with physical and psychological problems with two pointless wars.
  • He's galvanized the disabled individuals of his country.
  • Among those that don't, it's roughly estimated that a third can be disabled.
  • He became ill and disabled and spent the last years of his life in an insane asylum.
  • Photo captions are included by default, but may be disabled.
  • The success boosts hopes for mind-controlled robotic prosthetics that may help disabled humans achieve some mobility.
  • Then they excluded human genes that also exist in primate relatives, but are disabled.
  • Among the promoters of electronic voting machines are advocates for disabled voters.
  • It's an insult to the genuinely disabled to call the obese disabled.
British Dictionary definitions for disabled


  1. lacking one or more physical powers, such as the ability to walk or to coordinate one's movements, as from the effects of a disease or accident, or through mental impairment
  2. (as collective noun; preceded by the): the disabled
Usage note
Nowadays it is better to refer to people with physical disabilities of various kinds by describing the specific difficulty in question rather than talking about the disabled as a group, which is considered somewhat offensive. Some people also object to the word disabled to refer to facilities for people with disabilites, and prefer the word accessible


verb (transitive)
to make ineffective, unfit, or incapable, as by crippling
to make or pronounce legally incapable
to switch off (an electronic device)
Derived Forms
disablement, noun
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 disabled

"incapacitated," 1630s, past participle adjective from disable. Earlier it meant "legally disqualified" (mid-15c.).



mid-15c., from dis- "do the opposite of" + ablen (v.) "to make fit" (see able). Related: Disabled; disabling. Earlier in the same sense was unable (v.) "make unfit, render unsuitable" (c.1400).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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disabled in Medicine

disabled dis·a·bled (dĭs-ā'bəld)
Impaired, as in physical functioning. n.
Physically impaired people considered as a group. Often used with the.

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