- 1Cause (someone) to become unable to walk or move properly: a young student was crippled for life (as adjective crippling) a crippling diseaseMore example sentences
- A young man crippled by a disease of old age may not get the operation he and his family have been hoping and praying for over the last year.
- When she was too crippled to walk more than a few steps, she still spread her husband's shirts out on the kitchen table and ironed them.
- But he refuses to allow his children to be immunised against the disease that crippled him three decades ago.
- 1.1Cause severe and disabling damage to (a machine).More example sentences
- Qualitatively, the Iraqi military machine is crippled, with no spare parts for its ancient equipment.
- However, it was modified to accept an electron bolt gun, giving it the ability to disable (/ cripple / damage) much larger ships.
- They aimed to cripple the machinery of war, not simply broaden disdain for it.
- 2Cause a severe and almost insuperable problem for: developing countries are crippled by their debtsMore example sentences
ruin, destroy, wipe out, crush, break; impair, hamstring, hamper, impede, cramp, spoil, sabotage, scotch, scupper, bring to a standstill, paralyse, enfeeble, weaken, render powerless, put out of action, put out of business, bankrupt, make bankrupt, make insolvent, impoverish, reduce to penury, bring someone to their kneesNorth American • informal rain on someone's parade• archaic bring to naught• rare vitiate, beggar, pauperize
- We have developing countries being crippled by debt, so we need a more value-led globalisation.
- News of the loan comes just days after prosecutors at his child sex-abuse trial claimed the singer has crippling debts of £155 million.
- With the county club faced with crippling debts there are reports that they may have to get rid of nine players when contracts are discussed in a few weeks' time.
noun• dated or • offensive Back to top
- 1.1A person with a severe limitation of a specified kind: an emotional crippleMore example sentences
- Like so many other young British patricians, he was saved from becoming a complete emotional cripple by a tenderhearted nanny.
- Judy Garland turns out to be a complete emotional cripple who tries to seduce me.
- I thought you were supposed to drive them away and test them, and be really mean to them until they were emotional cripples and then they would never leave you.
- More example sentences
- The baht fell to half its previous price against the dollar, making foreign debt cripplingly expensive.
- Home ownership is a distant dream; starting a family seems cripplingly expensive.
- Either he's cripplingly shy, or afraid to get close to another human being.
Old English: from two words, crypel and crēopel, both of Germanic origin and related to creep.
The word cripple has long been in use to refer to ‘a person unable to walk through illness or disability’ and is recorded (in the Lindisfarne Gospels) as early as ad 950. In the 20th century the term acquired offensive connotations and has now been largely replaced by broader terms such as ‘disabled person’.