Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

impair

play
verb im·pair \im-ˈper\

Simple Definition of impair

  • : to make (something) weaker or worse

Full Definition of impair

  1. transitive verb
  2. :  to damage or make worse by or as if by diminishing in some material respect <his health was impaired by overwork> <the strike seriously impaired community services>

im·pair·er noun
im·pair·ment play \-mənt\ noun

Examples of impair

  1. Smoking can impair your health.

  2. Drinking impairs a person's ability to think clearly.

  3. His memory was so impaired by age that he often forgot where he was.



Origin of impair

Middle English empeiren, from Anglo-French empeirer, from Vulgar Latin *impejorare, from Latin in- + Late Latin pejorare to make worse — more at pejorative


First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of impair

injure, harm, hurt, damage, impair, mar mean to affect injuriously. injure implies the inflicting of anything detrimental to one's looks, comfort, health, or success <badly injured in an accident>. harm often stresses the inflicting of pain, suffering, or loss <careful not to harm the animals>. hurt implies inflicting a wound to the body or to the feelings <hurt by their callous remarks>. damage suggests injury that lowers value or impairs usefulness <a table damaged in shipping>. impair suggests a making less complete or efficient by deterioration or diminution <years of smoking had impaired his health>. mar applies to injury that spoils perfection (as of a surface) or causes disfigurement <the text is marred by many typos>.

Medical Dictionary

impair

play
transitive verb im·pair \im-ˈpa(ə)r, -ˈpe(ə)r\

Medical Definition of impair

  1. :  to damage or make worse by or as if by diminishing in some material respect <his health was impaired by overwork>

  2. im·pair·ment \-ˈpa(ə)r-mənt\play noun






Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up impair? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

February 13, 2016

a trying or distressing experience

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image33683556

How much does a batman (the Turkish unit of measurement) weigh?

2.2 pounds 196.5 pounds 100 pounds 16.96 pounds
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ