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Able-bodied refers, in law, to an individual's physical or mental capacity for gainful employment or military service, and it is in this sense that the term is also used regarding eligibility for payment of child support or alimony.

The term is also used by disability rights activists and their supporters to refer to those who function "normally" in society and do not have an outward physical disability. In these circles, particularly amongst those who more closely align themselves with the "identity" of disability, 'able-bodied' is sometimes abbreviated in speech and/or writing to "AB", as in "that AB person over there". "AB" can even sometimes be used in a condescending and/or disparaging manner, as if to suggest a certain level of 'disability supremacy' because of disabled individuals' sometimes markedly-different perspectives on the physical world and their place in it. In that context "able-bodied" is seen almost as a type of immaturity due to the able-bodied person's lack of disability experience.

Nondisabled Edit

The term "nondisabled" is considered by some to be preferable to the term "able-bodied" because it moves "disability" from a marginalized to a centralized topic of discourse. Others, however, question the necessity of using what is essentially a double negative-rooted word ("non" and "dis" coupled in front of "abled").

The usual arguments for and against what is politically correct (WP) apply to this discussion; 'against' being largely that it is unnecessary, and 'for' being that new terms are required for new perceptions in a new society.

See alsoEdit