Definition of challenged in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈtʃalɪndʒd/


[with submodifier or in combination]
1Used euphemistically to indicate that someone suffers disability in a specified respect: my experience of being physically challenged
More example sentences
  • This year, around 1,500 physically challenged children would be given special education aids as a separate budgetary allocation has been made for the purpose.
  • Yet we tend to stick physically challenged people in front of the tube, where they can spend hours watching sexually explicit material that has very little to do with their reality.
  • In short, this society is a very inconvenient place for physically and mentally challenged people.
1.1 informal Used to indicate that someone or something is lacking or deficient in a specified respect: I didn’t know he was so vertically challenged today’s attention-challenged teens
More example sentences
  • ‘One queue for the rich and another much longer one for the poor,’ says the intellectually challenged minister for local government.
  • I keep trying, maybe one day I'll get the secret, until then you'll just have to put up with this poorly constructed, grammatically inept, syntax challenged journal.
  • But again I damn my inexplicable vertically challenged self for not being able to reach it.


The use with a preceding adverb (e.g. physically challenged), originally intended to give a more positive tone than terms such as disabled or handicapped, arose in the US in the 1980s and quickly spread to the UK and elsewhere. Despite the serious intention the term rapidly became stalled by uses whose intention was to make fun of the attempts at euphemism and whose tone was usually clearly ironic: examples include cerebrally challenged, conversationally challenged, and follicularly challenged. See also disabled (usage).

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: chal|lenged

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