Redefining ‘Crippled’: How you can help

by Ally

Catching flack for the use of the word ‘crippled’ is nothing new for me. It has never been to the extent of recently, but it has always been a word that seems to add an air of awkwardness to most rooms. What has caused this word to have so many negative connotations? There was a day when it was used synonymous with ‘disabled’. One of the nations leading pediatric hospitals was marketed as “Kosair’s Hospital for Crippled Children”. I don’t know what changed, nor do I truly care. What matters to me is revoking the taboo that comes along with using this word.

Help me take away the negativity! Here’s how:

We’re redefining the word “crippled”. From now on, it is no longer a reference to a disability, but rather an adjective meaning “totally awesome”.

Crippled (adj.) /ˈkripəld/ : Something so awesome, it’s debilitating. Opposite of ‘lame’.

Insert this word into your daily vocabulary and help us show the world that it is actually a GOOD thing for something to be crippled!



  1. Lynne
    28 May 12, 7:55pm

    Hey Ally,
    I sure hope that I did not offend you when I commented on your post…i replied something like cripp beeotch!!!! Using your shorenet term. I may be tall, but socially awkward thats a for sure! Hope to see you outdoing comedy…except for the no balls of meat contest…where I willllll kick butt!!!! hopefully. Just to let you know, I have relatives who still whisper Mental Health Illnesses….Like you, I say fuck em…I an go onstage no matter how crazy I am……see u soon!
    P.S. You are an awesome writer…such emotion!

  2. Phil
    19 June 12, 5:57pm


    What a refreshing attitude and approach. Good for you! It will take a village and long time, but I love the idea of reclaiming words; language is powerful.

    But please understand if some of us are a little hesitant to go blurting out “certain words” as this process moves forward. Or agreeing to “laugh at the crippled girl” in public. It is a bit like white people using the “n” word – it was so hateful, so tied to shame, humiliation, and violence that it still carries a power like few others. African Amercians can relcaim the word, but (as a white man) I dare not, until it is widely understood as to context and meaning. So too with “cripple” – if I start using it casually, it could lead to some very unfortunate misunderstandings. Please help us well-intentioned, able-bodied folks navigate this. Thanks,

  3. Steve I.
    21 June 12, 12:25am

    I think it’s great what you’re doing for awareness, plus your comedy absolutely rocks, or should I now say is crippled! 🙂 People are waaay too uptight & politically “correct” these days, they really need to take a deep look at their own insecurities. One of my best friends is blind and he tells blind jokes all day long, so where’s the offense? How bleak is life when we can’t laugh at ourselves?
    I agree with you that society has somehow switched the meanings of the words “crippled” and “disabled”. Crippled just means something has a broken part, disabled means it does not work at all. For example, you can cripple your car in an accident but still be able to limp it home. If it’s disabled, you’re calling a tow truck. Personally, I’d rather have something a little broken rather than be totally useless.
    All this re-naming of things and re-defining of terms seems like Orwellian watering-down of the language, e.g. people no longer have “diseases” they have “disorders”, etc., etc..
    I disagree with Phil though, there’s no way the “c-word” is in any way analogous to the “n-word”. Very different histories there. Plus cripples never had to sit at the back of their bus or use separate bathrooms. In fact, it’s now the law that all public restrooms have to be cripple restrooms, thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA ). Though they’ll probably re-name it to the Americans with Different Abilities act, just so none of the PC-Nazis are offended…..
    Best of luck with your career. After watching your video clips, I definitely laughed at the crippled girl too. Oh, and good luck in court.
    –Steve I.

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