“Crip” is the shortened, informal form of the word “cripple.” One finds it in slang usage by the early twentieth century, often in the underworld language associated with begging—such as “he was a phony crip.” The word also occurs as a nickname based on a defining physical characteristic, such as the novelist Owen Wister’s 1893 reference to a lame character shot in the leg as Crip Jones (“Crip” 1994, 522). During the 1920s, “crip” became a slang synonym for “easy,” both in sports and in collegiate registers: a “baseball crip” was an easy pitch, while a “crip course” was an easy course in school. These usages reflect the low social expectations held for people with disabilities, as in the phrase “to give someone the cripple’s inch.”

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