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From Middle English cripel, crepel, crüpel, from Old English crypel(crippled; a cripple), from Proto-Germanic *krupilaz(tending to crawl; a cripple), from Proto-Indo-European *grewb-(to bend, crouch, crawl), from Proto-Indo-European *ger-(to bend, twist), equivalent to creep +‎ -le. Cognate with Dutch kreupel, Low German Kröpel, German Krüppel, Old Norse kryppill.



cripple (comparative more cripple, superlative most cripple)

  1. Crippled.
    • 1599William Shakespeare, Henry V, iv 1
      And chide the cripple tardy-gaited night, who, like a foul and ugly witch, doth limp so tediously away.



cripple (plural cripples)

  1. (often offensive) a person who has severely impaired physical abilities because of deformation, injury, or amputation of parts of the body.
    He returned from war a cripple.
    • Dryden
      I am a cripple in my limbs; but what decays are in my mind, the reader must determine.
  2. A shortened wooden stud or brace used to construct the portion of a wall above a door or above and below a window.
  3. (dialect, Southern US except Louisiana) scrapple.
  4. (among lumbermen) A rocky shallow in a stream.


Derived terms[edit]



cripple (third-person singular simple present cripples, present participle crippling, simple past and past participle crippled)

  1. to make someone a cripple; to cause someone to get a physical disability
    The car bomb crippled five passers-by.
  2. (figuratively) to damage seriously; to destroy
    My ambitions were crippled by a lack of money.
  3. to release a product (especially a computer program) with reduced functionality, in some cases, making the item essentially worthless.
    The word processor was released in a crippled demonstration version that did not allow you to save.



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