Legal Definition and Related Resources of Disability

Meaning of Disability

The want of legal capacity to perform an act. The absence of legal ability to do certain acts or enjoy certain benefits. Disability is either general or special. It is general when it disables the person from doing all acts of a given kind. It is special when it disables a person from doing a specific act. Infants are under a general disability disabling them from entering into contracts. A married person is under a special disability from marrying again.

Disability Alternative Definition

The want of legal capacity. “Disability implies want of power, not want of inclination. It refers to incapacity, and not to disinclination.” 32 Barb. (N. Y.) 473. Disabilities were anciently classified as general and special.
(1) A disability is called general when it disables a person from performing all acts of a given kind, as in the case of an outlaw.
(2) A disability is special when it disables him from doing a specific act, as where one renders himself incapable of performing a contract which he has entered into. They are also classified as personal and absolute.
(3) A personal disability is confined to the person affected.
(4) An absolute disability descends to his heirs. The absolute disabilities such as attainder have been all abolished. They are also classified as civil and canonical. This classification existed only as to disability to enter the marriage contract. Civil were such as to render the marriage void, as prior marriage, consanguinity, etc., while a canonical disability, such as sterility, rendered the marriage voidable only. 2 Steph. Coram. 240.

Synonyms of Disability

(Legal disqualification), noun

  • disablement
  • impairment
  • invalidation
  • invalidity
  • legal incapacity
  • unfitness
  • unqualification
  • unqualifiedness
  • unsuitability
  • unsuitableness
  • unsuitedness
  • want of legal capacity
  • want of legal qualification foreign phrases: Contra non valentem agere nulla currit praescriptio
  • No prescription runs against a person who is unable to act

(Physical inability), noun

  • affliction
  • ailment
  • debilitation
  • debility
  • deterioration
  • disablement
  • disorder
  • disqualification
  • feebleness
  • frailty
  • handicap
  • helplessness
  • illness
  • impairment
  • impotence
  • impotency
  • inability
  • inability to work
  • inadequacy
  • incapability
  • incapacitation
  • incapacity
  • incompetence
  • incompetency
  • indisposition
  • ineffectiveness
  • ineffectuality
  • ineffectualness
  • inefficacy
  • inefficiency
  • infirmity
  • insufficiency
  • malady
  • powerlessness
  • sickness
  • unfitness
  • unsoundness
  • weakness
  • Associated Concepts: complete disability
  • continuous disability
  • disability benefits
  • disability compensation
  • disability insurance
  • general disability
  • medical disability
  • mental disability
  • partial disability
  • physical disability
  • proof of disability
  • temporary disability
  • total disability

Related Entries of Disability in the Encyclopedia of Law Project

Browse or run a search for Disability in the American Encyclopedia of Law, the Asian Encyclopedia of Law, the European Encyclopedia of Law, the UK Encyclopedia of Law or the Latin American and Spanish Encyclopedia of Law.

Disability in Historical Law

You might be interested in the historical meaning of this term. Browse or search for Disability in Historical Law in the Encyclopedia of Law.

Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms

Search for legal acronyms and/or abbreviations containing Disability in the Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms Dictionary.

Related Legal Terms

You might be also interested in these legal terms:

Mentioned in these terms

Bearer, Collateral Source Rule, Incapacity, Odd Lot Doctrine, Permanent Disability, Psychopath, Social Security, Total Disability.


You might be interested in these references tools:

Resource Description
Disability in the Dictionary Disability in our legal dictionaries
Browse the Legal Thesaurus Find synonyms and related words of Disability
Legal Maxims Maxims are established principles that jurists use as interpretive tools, invoked more frequently in international law
Legal Answers (Q&A) A community-driven knowledge creation process, of enduring value to a broad audience
Related topics Disability in the World Encyclopedia of Law


This definition of Disability is based on the The Cyclopedic Law Dictionary . This entry needs to be proofread.

Vocabularies (Semantic Web Information)


Resource Description
Topic Map A group of names, occurrences and associations
Topic Tree A topic display format, showing the hierarchy
Sitemap Index Sitemap Index, including Taxonomies
https://legaldictionary.lawin.org/disability/ The URI of Disability (more about URIs)

English Spanish Translation of Disability


Find other English to Spanish translations from the Pocket Spanish English Legal Dictionary (print and online), the English to Spanish to English dictionaries (like Disability) and the Word reference legal translator.


Legal English Vocabulary: Disability and Handicap in Spanish

Online translation of the English legal term disability and handicap into Spanish: Discapacidad y handicap (English to Spanish translation) . More about legal dictionary from english to spanish online.

Related to the Legal Thesaurus


Legal English Vocabulary: Disability in Spanish

Online translation of the English legal term disability into Spanish: discapacidad (English to Spanish translation) . More about legal dictionary from english to spanish online.

Related to the Legal Thesaurus


See Also

  • Social Protection
  • Social Security
  • Employment Affairs
  • Welfare State
  • Disability
  • Health
  • Medical Law
  • Forensic Medicine
  • Legal Medicine
  • Health Law



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