Definition of disabled in English:

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Pronunciation: /dɪsˈeɪbld/


1(Of a person) having a physical or mental condition that limits their movements, senses, or activities: facilities for disabled people
More example sentences
  • But the Government says it has brought forward a raft of equality legislation and has pumped record funds into the improving conditions for disabled people.
  • Tory Euro-MPs say over-prescriptive details will make it more expensive for manufacturers to comply with the worthy goal of improving bus conditions for disabled people.
  • They began the project, based in Charnley Street, Mill Hill, after seeing first-hand the lack of activity provision for disabled children.
having a disability, wheelchair-using, paralysed;
having a mental disability, learning-disabled, having learning difficulties, having special needs
often offensive handicapped, physically handicapped, physically impaired, crippled, lame
euphemistic physically challenged, differently abled
Medicine  paraplegic, quadriplegic, tetraplegic, monoplegic, hemiplegic, paretic, paraparetic
1.1Relating to or specifically designed for people with a physical or mental disability: disabled access is available at all venues
More example sentences
  • The building has also been specially designed for disabled access.
  • The new law will require all providers of goods and services to make reasonable physical adjustments to enable disabled access.
  • When the Steam Museum was being built I, with others, spent many hours working at Empire House on the design of disabled and walking wounded lavatories.


The word disabled came to be used as the standard term in referring to people with physical or mental disabilities in the second half of the 20th century, and it remains the most generally accepted term in both British and US English today. It superseded outmoded, now often offensive, terms such as crippled, defective, and handicapped and has not been overtaken itself by newer coinages such as differently abled or physically challenged. Although the usage is very widespread, some people regard the use of the adjective as a plural noun (as in the needs of the disabled) as dehumanizing because it tends to treat people with disabilities as an undifferentiated group, defined merely by their capabilities. To avoid offence, a more acceptable term would be people with disabilities.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: dis|abled

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