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
  1. verb
    injure permanently
    synonyms: handicap, incapacitate, invalid
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    disable by cutting the hock
    type of:
    injure, wound
    cause injuries or bodily harm to
  2. verb
    make unable to perform a certain action
    disable this command on your computer”
    synonyms: disenable, incapacitate
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    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
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