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Alternative forms[edit]


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.


  • IPA(key): /ˈkɹɪp(ə)l/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪpəl
  • Hyphenation: crip‧ple


cripple (not comparable)

  1. (now rare, dated) crippled
    • 1599, William Shakespeare, “The Life of Henry the Fift”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act IV, scene i]:
      And chide the cripple tardy-gaited night, who, like a foul and ugly witch, doth limp so tediously away.
    • 1922, Maternity and Child Welfare - Volume 6:
      Early treatment, and treatment spread over a long period, was the on means of rendering a cripple child fit to mix with its fellows on anything like equal terms, []
    • 2006, Glenn Earle Cummings, The Touch of His Hand:
      You let sin in a church and it will cripple that church's ministry. Let sin get its ugly hands on the life of an individual and it will wreck and ruin and twist any life that it gets a hold on. Here was a cripple man who was excluded from the temple.
    • 2014, Paul M Mahlobogwane, Transcend like a Butterfly:
      Other[s] think that, certain challenges are for certain people and not for them, that the reason when some women give birth to a cripple child, or male child instead to a female child, they think God did not answer their wishes, forgetting that every child is a gift from God []
    • 2015, Brennan Morton, Dying For Strangers: Memoirs of a Special Ops Operator in Iraq:
      He held the cripple boy like a towel. The cripple boy's arms and legs dangled uselessly over his father's arm, one of each on either side, while his father balanced the diaper-clad boy on his forearm.



cripple (plural cripples)

  1. (sometimes 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.
  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 become physically impaired.
    The car bomb crippled five passers-by.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:disable
  2. (figuratively) To damage seriously; to destroy.
    My ambitions were crippled by a lack of money.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:destroy, Thesaurus:harm
  3. (figuratively) To cause severe and disabling damage; to make unable to function normally.
    • 2019, Ed Sheeran; Justin Bieber, I Don't Care:
      With all these people all around / I'm crippled with anxiety / But I'm told it's where I'm s'posed to be.
    • 2012, Andrew Martin, Underground Overground: A passenger's history of the Tube, Profile Books, →ISBN, page 64:
      But the penny was beginning to drop: even a successful railway could be crippled by its capital costs.
  4. 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.
    Synonyms: limit, restrict
  5. (slang, video games) To nerf something which is overpowered.


See also[edit]