Ableist – Definition & Meaning

Ableism is a term that is used to describe discrimination or prejudice against individuals with disabilities, whether visible or invisible. Ableism is a form of discrimination that can manifest in various ways, from physical barriers to social exclusion. In this article, we will explore the definition and meaning of ableist, its origin, and its associations.


Ableist refers to a person who discriminates against individuals with disabilities. It is also used to describe attitudes, beliefs, and practices that marginalize people with disabilities. Ableism can take many forms, including physical barriers, social exclusion, and negative stereotypes.


The term ableism is derived from the word “able,” which means having the power, skill, or means to do something. It is used to describe discrimination against individuals who are perceived to be less able or less capable than others. The term ableism was first used in the 1980s by disability rights activists to describe the discrimination and prejudice that people with disabilities face.

Meaning in different dictionaries

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, ableism is “discrimination or prejudice against individuals with disabilities.” The Oxford English Dictionary defines ableism as “discrimination or prejudice against individuals with disabilities, especially in favor of able-bodied people.”


Ableism is often associated with other forms of discrimination, such as racism, sexism, and homophobia. It is also associated with the medical model of disability, which views disability as a problem that needs to be fixed, rather than a natural variation of the human experience.


Some synonyms of ableist include discriminatory, prejudiced, biased, and intolerant.


Antonyms of ableist include inclusive, accepting, supportive, and accommodating.

The same root words

The root word of ableist is able, which means having the power, skill, or means to do something. Other words that share the same root include ability, disable, enable, and disablement.

Example Sentences

  • “The company’s hiring practices are ableist, as they discriminate against candidates with disabilities.”
  • “The school’s lack of accessibility is a clear example of ableism.”
  • “We need to challenge ableist attitudes and create a more inclusive society.”
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