(1)   The condition of being unable to perform as a consequence of physical or mental unfitness
"Reading disability"
"Hearing impairment"


  1. State of being disabled; deprivation or want of ability; absence of competent physical, intellectual, or moral power, means, fitness, and the like.
    Grossest faults, or disabilities to perform what was covenanted. - John Milton.
    Chatham refused to see him, pleading his disability. - George Bancroft.
  2. Want of legal qualification to do a thing; legal incapacity or incompetency.
    The disabilities of idiocy, infancy, and coverture. - Benjamin Vaughan Abbott.
  3. The combination of a physical or intellectual impairment of an individual and the social attitudes and environment that prevents a person from living a full, normal life or from performing his/her normal job.
    He has a mental disability.
  4. Regular payments received by a disabled person, usually from the state
    I had to go on disability after the accident.
    Did you get your disability this month?

Usage notes

  • Disability and inability: Inability is an inherent want of power to perform the thing in question; disability arises from some deprivation or loss of the needed competency. One who becomes deranged is under a disability of holding his estate; and one who is made a judge, of deciding in his own case. A man may decline an office on account of his inability to discharge its duties; he may refuse to accept a trust or employment on account of some disability prevents him from entering into such engagements.