Invalid invalid

So as most of you know I suffered a badly sprained ankle over a week ago. I’m slowly on the mend now and doing better. However in my weeklong convalescence I had noted something – while I was clearly temporarily disabled (hobbling at slow speeds, using a cane for support), I was not considered disabled by any legal definition. Therefore I was ineligible for the privelige of parking in the disabled parking spots and I had to hobble a heck of a lot farther than was comfortable if I needed to go to the store or mall for errands.

So while lots of folks around me were very helpful with doors and such, I felt somewhat invalidated of my disabled or invalid status. It also made me realize that the words “invalid” (something that is not valid) and “invalid” (someone who is disabled) are actually the same word, just pronounced differently. So if you have a disability, you are considered invalid (not valid)? I decided to research the etymology of these words and here is what I found:

invalid (adj.) Look up invalid at Dictionary.com
1635, “not strong, infirm,” also “of no legal force,” from L. invalidus “not strong, infirm, weak, feeble,” from in- “not” + validus “strong.” Meaning “infirm from sickness, disease, or injury” is from 1642. The noun is first recorded 1704, originally of disabled military men. Invalidate is from 1649. Invalides is short for Fr. Hôtel des Invalides, home for old and disabled soldiers in Paris.

So the original meaning was for the sick, infirm, or (as in my case) injured. Somehow over time the word also became an adjective to mean not valid (not legally sound, or not justifiable). So therefore I declare I am an invalid (albiet temporarily) and that my invalid status is not invalid!!

Leave a Reply