adj. Politically correct
1990s euphemism meaning "disabled
". Contrary to what the words may suggest, "differently abled
" does NOT mean "having different abilities;" more precisely it means "lacking expected abilities." Since mental disability is generally associated with much more social stigma than physical disability (and hence is ripe for being described by a "sensitive" PC
vocabulary), "differently abled
" is most frequently encountered in similar contexts as "special
". With this in mind, persons of non-retarded status should construe the phrase as a deep insult.
What the teacher thinks: "Goddamn, that was funny! Why do they insist on mainstreaming these plainly retarded kids...they're so distracting to my class..."
What the teacher says: "Class, you should be ashamed of yourselves for laughing when our differently abled
peers gave their fine interpretation of Hamlet."