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[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.
Origin of disable
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 disablement
Historical Examples
  • Many a poor fellow owed his death or disablement to this useless exposure.

  • The disorder or the disablement is thus almost a family possession.

    Change in the Village (AKA George Bourne) George Sturt
  • They pay for our freedom with a great price—and we send them out to pay it—in death, disablement, suffering and sacrifice.

    Women and War Work Helen Fraser
  • You see, our artillery is intended for destruction, and not for disablement.

    The Angel of the Revolution George Griffith
  • But the French had a variety of mishaps, chief among them the disablement of their fleet by a tremendous gale.

    Elsie and Her Loved Ones Martha Finley
  • Ships in danger of wreck or disablement sometimes cast forth such precarious messengers calling for aid.

  • Today it is easy to find a widow who has at great cost to herself in pain, danger, and disablement, borne six or eight children.

  • Then, perceiving the nature of the affair, he asked in a voice trembling with emotion about the man's regiment and disablement.

    The Lincoln Story Book Henry L. Williams
  • Many a time they were rewarded for service and blood and disablement.

    Smoke Turgenev Ivan Sergeevich
  • If a rancher had his stock run off, it meant temporary impoverishment and disablement.

British Dictionary definitions for disablement


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 disablement



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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