To cripple is to leave someone unable to walk. Terrible car accidents, for example, can sometimes cripple their victims.

Use the verb cripple to describe what is done to a person whose legs are so badly injured that they can't be used. You can also use the word in a figurative way, as when a parent's criticism and high expectations cripple a child's self esteem. In other words, they take away his strength and make him feel useless and unsuccessful. In the thirteenth century, cripple meant "to move slowly," from the Old English root crypel, "to bend."

Definitions of cripple

v deprive of the use of a limb, especially a leg

“The accident has crippled her for life”
cripple by cutting the hamstring
Type of:
injure or wound seriously and leave permanent disfiguration or mutilation

v deprive of strength or efficiency; make useless or worthless

“This measure crippled our efforts”
Type of:
lessen the strength of

n someone who is unable to walk normally because of an injury or disability to the legs or back

crookback, humpback, hunchback
a person whose back is hunched because of abnormal curvature of the upper spine
Type of:
individual, mortal, person, somebody, someone, soul
a human being

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