mutilate and cripple

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GandalfMB

Senior Member
Bulgarian - Yellow Beach
Hello, everyone,
The reason I am posting this thread is because we are having a disagreement here. "Many of the bodies were badly burned or mutilated" - provided by MacMillan Dictionary. I think that mutilate suggests cutting or removing a part of the body or damaging it permanently and cripple = to impair someone's ability to walk, to disable his legs. Could you please tell me where I go wrong?



Thank you
 
  • boozer

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian
    Well, to me mutilate suggests disfigurement - you make something look ghastly or horrible. You can do so by cutting parts as well, but that is not necessary. When you cripple something, you actually impair its ability to do things or to function normally, but it does not have to look ghastly...
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    Your example contains no reference to "cripple", so I am not sure why you have introduced it. Are you considering substituting "crippled" for "mutilated"?

    The verb to cripple has the wider meaning of "to impair the function (of something)" - however, dead bodies do not "function" and therefore can only be described as crippled when the owner of the body was crippled during his lifetime.
     

    GandalfMB

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian - Yellow Beach
    Your example contains no reference to "cripple", so I am not sure why you have introduced it. Are you considering substituting "crippled" for "mutilated"?

    The verb to cripple has the wider meaning of "to impair the function (of something)" - however, dead bodies do not "function" and therefore can only be described as crippled when the owner of the body was crippled during his lifetime.
    No, I would not substitute "crippled" for "mutilated". When the person is alive, but mutilated, doesn't that mean that at least one of his body functions has been impaired?
     

    GandalfMB

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian - Yellow Beach
    No :thumbsdown:- at least not necessarily.
    According to what I read on Macmillan about an hour ago, "mutilate" can also involve ripping limbs/parts off (I think that's a bit too much) or at least cutting them off, or just cutting them. In what contexts would you use "mutilate", sdgraham? If we impair someone's ability to do things we use "cripple", okay. Doesn't cripple suggests walking ability? I know this is a silly question, but... Does that mean that if someone cut my forearm really badly, but I was able to use my muscles to a certain extent, he would mutilate me? I am just a bit confused :(.
     
    Last edited:

    Sparky Malarky

    Moderator
    English - US
    Perhaps some examples would clarify it for you.

    If something cuts off your leg, you have been mutilated and crippled.
    If something cuts your spinal cord leaving you paralyzed, you are crippled but you look fine. You have not been mutilated.
    If something cuts off your nose, you have been mutilated, but you can still walk, talk, use your hands, and function normally. You are not crippled in any way.
     

    GandalfMB

    Senior Member
    Bulgarian - Yellow Beach
    Perhaps some examples would clarify it for you.

    If something cuts off your leg, you have been mutilated and crippled.
    If something cuts your spinal cord leaving you paralyzed, you are crippled but you look fine. You have not been mutilated.
    If something cuts off your nose, you have been mutilated, but you can still walk, talk, use your hands, and function normally. You are not crippled in any way.
    Thanks :). I didn't mean to annoy anyone by asking :(.
     
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