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Saying crippled to describe a machine isn't acceptable

(89 Posts)
DyslexicScientist Mon 04-Jan-16 10:40:58

A work colleague has just described a machine as crippled. I'm a bit sensitive about this word but aibu to think even describing a machine as this has no place these days?

ginmakesitallok Mon 04-Jan-16 10:44:39

It depends on the context. If the machine has been crippled by something, then fine. If being described as crippled just because she doesn't like it/it isn't working then not ok. There's nothing wrong with the word per se, just how it's used. E.g. fine to say, "losing my job would cripple me"

MajesticSeaFlapFlap Mon 04-Jan-16 10:44:52

(of a person) unable to walk or move properly; disabled.
"a crippled old man"
(of a machine) severely damaged.
"the pilot displayed skill and nerve in landing the crippled plane"

So they are not technically wrong. Wouldn't use it myself though.

MangoBiscuit Mon 04-Jan-16 10:46:19

I would be far more likely to use it for a machine. It's a correct use of the word, and I doubt the machine would be offended.

WorraLiberty Mon 04-Jan-16 10:46:31

Why are you sensitive about the word? If it's because you're disabled, then I can understand it but your colleague was using the word correctly.

(of a person) unable to walk or move properly; disabled.
"a crippled old man"

(of a machine) severely damaged.
"the pilot displayed skill and nerve in landing the crippled plane"

Also, people might say "My finances are crippling me"

It's not any kind of dig at disabled people, if that's what you're worried about?

Pinkhousealreadyinuse Mon 04-Jan-16 10:47:09

Eh? It means damaged, often severely so, when describing a machine and is nothing to do with a person or their abilities. It's not a "put down" word iyswim, it's just a describing word.

BanningTheWordNaice Mon 04-Jan-16 10:47:21

Yes YABU. The world crippled has two meanings, one of which is severely damaged and not meant in relation to any human condition.

DyslexicScientist Mon 04-Jan-16 10:48:47

There is something wrong with the machine.

But I just don't like it, I had a friend at school who was called this and it just reminds me of this.sad

Chiggers Mon 04-Jan-16 10:50:34

YABU. He was talking about a damaged machine, not a person.

goodnightdarthvader1 Mon 04-Jan-16 10:51:02


Should we start compiling a dictionary of words that aren't acceptable to describe inanimate objects in case we hurt their feelings?

OP, is what you're actually saying that you don't want the word to be used EVER, in any context?

WorraLiberty Mon 04-Jan-16 10:51:56

So you're taking offence on behalf of someone else, who may not actually take offence themselves, at the correct usage of the word for a broken machine?

Honestly, life's too short.

Do you also take offence to the phrase "That's a lame excuse"?

MooneyWormtailPadfootProngs Mon 04-Jan-16 10:51:57

I can see why you'd think that bit crippled just means "broken" so it's not incorrect.

If he'd said the machine was retarded you'd have a point

redhat Mon 04-Jan-16 10:52:17

Sorry YABU. The world is quite frankly going mad.

goodnightdarthvader1 Mon 04-Jan-16 10:53:48

The world is quite frankly going mad.


As I've said before (and I'll say it again): being so offended all the time must be exhausting. And I say this is a person who takes offense to a LOT of things.

LaurieLemons Mon 04-Jan-16 10:54:38

You might not like it but I think it's unreasonable to expect everyone to know what you are offended by. I have done similar things in front of people who I realised later may have been offended, luckily they were relaxed about it. I don't think everyone should be expected to walk on eggshells around anyone. She probably has no idea you even raised an eyebrow.

DyslexicScientist Mon 04-Jan-16 10:56:37

OK fair enough, I find it loaded and a slur but I understand this is due to me and my experiences. Thank you

JohnLuther Mon 04-Jan-16 10:57:43

I'm disabled.

Using the word crippled in that context is fine.

WorraLiberty Mon 04-Jan-16 10:58:50

You and your experiences?

I thought you said it was a friend at school? confused

DyslexicScientist Mon 04-Jan-16 10:59:44

My experiences of a friend that died far to early, yes.

ItWorks Mon 04-Jan-16 10:59:45

Preposterous to be offended in behalf of others. YAB massively U.

thelittleredhen Mon 04-Jan-16 11:01:17

The only time that I would use the term is in the context of being financially crippled.

I had a similar conversation with a friend just last night about the use of "spaz" in Iron Man 3.

goodnightdarthvader1 Mon 04-Jan-16 11:01:23

I once told a teenager off for using the word "gay" as an insult, then the next day described myself as "retarded". blush

We're all capable of making slip ups. I'd hate to think someone was thinking terrible things about me, extrapolating how I feel about certain social issues or people, or slagging me off on the internet just because I made a slip of the tongue, or used a word that some might deem "touchy".

Iwanttobeadog Mon 04-Jan-16 11:01:27

but mooney what if one said "use of fire retarded material" when writing a specification?

I8toys Mon 04-Jan-16 11:01:38

Being offended on behalf of someone else again - good grief. YABU. They were describing a machine. Don't they use it with boats too.

Damselindestress Mon 04-Jan-16 11:02:18

I can understand why you would be sensitive about it but using the word crippled to refer to a damaged machine is technically correct. It's using it to describe a person that is offensive.

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