What You Said, What You Meant To Say

People use ableist language all the time and oftentimes don't even realize it. I, personally, am hurt when people use the word lame to talk about something they don't like - because that is me - I am lame (sometimes) and I am someone's reference point for something unlikeable.

Here are some of the more common disablist words that people tend to use. Think about the language that you use and how it work to reinforce negative views of disabled people and work to change it.

For a discussion about why I now use the term disablism rather than ableism, click here.

What You Said What You Meant to Say Origin, and other tid-bits
Blind Careless; ignorant; insensitive; oblivious; rash; thoughtless; unaware;
Confined to a wheelchair Wheelchair user. This implies that wheelchairs
imprison people which is far from the truth. Wheelchairs help people get around and are libratory
rather than confining.
Crazy Batty; bizarre; busy; chaotic; erratic; intense; weird;
Actually people who are described as crazy are usually people who deviate from social
norms, are marginalized and/or who see hear or experiences things others don't.
Cretin Obnoxious; clown; creep; loser From the French meaning "dwarfed and
deformed idiot"
Crip[ple] Disabled; break; hurt; immobilize, incapacitate; sideline;

"Crip" has been reclaimed by some disabled people and is used with

Used by non-disabled people, it is offensive.

The word "cripple" as a verb,
means to break or make unworkable and is always offensive.

Crutch Prop; need; support Something you are dependant on and cannot get
by without. It has a negative connotation when used this way but crutches are not negative in the
lives of the people who use them.
Deaf Not listening; oblivious; obstinate; pigheaded; stubborn;
Cultural group
Disable[ed] Break; damage; destroy; disarm; hurt; impair; mar; ruin;
To make unable to move or act, to render inoperative
Dumb Bad; defective; foolish; inadequate; ineffective
Duh Hello; as if; what? Allegedly, this is the sound people with
intellectual disabilities make.
Gimp disabled  
Handicapped disabled

In game play, this is an advantage (i.e. spotting
points) given to one of the players to equalize the odds as they are unable to win on their

Some people believe that this term was applied because people on the streets were
pan-handling with their caps in hand.

Insane Batty; bizarre; busy; chaotic; erratic; intense; weird; wild The
origin of sane is healthy, so insane means unhealthy.
Lame Bad; boring; cheesy; faulty; inadequate; inefficient; in sufficient;
unconvincing; unpersuasive; unpleasing
Derogatory term for physically disabled,
particularly referring to one's gait.
Moron Unintentional; haphazard; goofy; foolish The psychological term
refers to one who has a mild intellectual disability.
From Greek for foolish.
Needy Deprived; lacking

Everyone is interdependent. Rugged individualism is just another way of saying that someone doesn't recognize their support network.
This word should not exist because it puts those who acknowledge and vocalize their needs into a negative context.

Negative term for someone who 'wants too much.'

Nuts Batty; bizarre; busy; chaotic; erratic; intense; weird;
Psycho Batty; bizarre; busy; chaotic; erratic; intense; weird; wild Short
for psychopath.
Paralyze Daze; debilitate; freeze; halt; incapacitate; numb; petrify;
Retard[ed] Ass; blockhead; dork; fool; loser; nerd The origin is
slow, or late (tardy).
Schizo Scattered; all over the place Short for schizophrenic.
Sick Bad; disgusting; displeasing; revolting; gross; sadistic Also, sick
is being used to mean something positive now.
Slow   Intellectually disabled
Spaz all over the place; Batty; clumsy; everywhere at once; energetic; goofy;
hyper; inept; squirrelly
From the word spastic or spasm.

Thans to Cody for their tech skills on this page.