To ensure consistency across the entries, the Medieval Disability Glossary encourages potential contributors to use the following format for their submissions. If you have any questions, please direct them to the current editor, Karen Bruce Wallace.


The title should be the single word that the remainder of the entry defines and explicates. This word may be either in Present Day English or in its source language, depending on which is most appropriate.


A clear, succinct definition of the word, which provides its etymology, and traces any changes in meaning across its history. Contributors may find it useful to supply definitions from the standard reference guides listed below.

Present Day English: The Oxford English Dictionary.
Old English: The Dictionary of Old English for words beginning A-G, and Bosworth and Toller's An Anglo-Saxon Dictionary (with its supplements, addenda and corrigenda) for words beginning H-Y.
Middle English: The Middle English Dictionary.
Latin: The Dictionary of Medieval Latin from British Sources.
Old Norse: G. T. Zo√ęga's A Concise Dictionary of Old Icelandic.


A discursive examination of the story behind the word. In particular, contributors should foreground how people within the medieval society that used the word constructed and perceived the physical, mental, or spiritual condition that it signified. They may find it helpful to consider answering one or more of the following questions in their discussion: What do attested instances of the word in contemporary texts show us about how the condition was understood? What do patterns of usage show? What did antique and medieval authorities have to say about it? What theories of etiology existed around it? Was there a particular group with which the condition was most commonly associated? Through what interventions did people attempt to respond to it? Perhaps most importantly, how did people with that condition experience it? How did it affect their lives? Was it accepted or stigmatized? Did people's experiences differ across cultures?


Relevant images from contemporary art, such as manuscripts and sculptures. Contributors should make sure that the material is available under fair-use guidelines, and should provide a full reference for it following the 16th edition of the Chicago Manual of Style.