transitive verb[with object]
1Cause severe and disabling damage to; deprive of the ability to function normally.‘developing countries are crippled by their debts’
ruin, destroy, wipe out, crush, breakView synonyms
- ‘he was crippled by self-doubt during his career’
- ‘interest rates rose to a crippling 13 per cent’
2Cause (someone) to become unable to walk or move normally.
disable, paralyse, immobilize, incapacitate, debilitateView synonyms
- ‘a young student was crippled for life’
1A person with a severe limitation of a specified kind.
- ‘an emotional cripple’
2 dated, offensive A person who is unable to walk or move normally through disability or because of injury to their back or legs.
The word cripple has long been in use to refer to ‘a person unable to walk due to illness or disability’ and is recorded 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.’
Old English from two words, crypel and crēopel, both of Germanic origin and related to creep.