When an injury disables someone, it leaves the person seriously hurt, probably for the rest of their life. If a car accident disables you, you are permanently limited in some physical way.

Illness, as well as injury, can disable people: for example, diabetes disables some sufferers by leaving them blind or weakening their hearts. A completely different way to disable is to make something unusable or unable to work in a certain way. if you disable your smoke detector while you cook nachos in your smoky oven, it won't work until you reconnect the batteries.

Definitions of disable

v injure permanently

“He was disabled in a car accident”
handicap, incapacitate, invalid
disable by cutting the hock
Type of:
injure, wound
cause injuries or bodily harm to

v make unable to perform a certain action

disable this command on your computer”
disenable, incapacitate
render capable or able for some task
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lay up
disable or confine, as with an illness
disable by drugging
cut the wings off (of birds)
confine, hold, restrain
to close within bounds, limit or hold back from movement
bind, tie down, tie up, truss
secure with or as if with ropes
fetter, shackle
restrain with fetters
restrain or bind with chains
pinion, shackle
bind the arms of
impound, pound
place or shut up in a pound
pound, pound up
shut up or confine in any enclosure or within any bounds or limits
fold, pen up
confine in a fold, like sheep
confine or restrict to the ground
Type of:
alter, change, modify
cause to change; make different; cause a transformation