Welcome to the Medieval Disability Glossary!

This resource explores the history and development of words related to impairment in all its forms.
Conceptions of disability vary greatly across cultures and time periods. By investigating words drawn from a broad range of medieval languages and resources, the Glossary demonstrates the complexity of early writers’ approaches to disability. Instead of simply reflecting common human experiences, the vocabulary of impairment plays a vital role in shaping the identities of individuals and communities.
Given that conversations about disability take place in many different professional, educational, and personal contexts, the Glossary makes information accessible in a variety of formats. In addition to providing succinct definitions, entries describe the fuller “story” of each word and suggest resources for further study.