debilitate

verb
de·​bil·​i·​tate | \ di-ˈbi-lə-ˌtāt How to pronounce debilitate (audio) , dē-\
debilitated; debilitating

Definition of debilitate

transitive verb

: to impair the strength of : enfeeble sailors debilitated by scurvy an economy debilitated by years of civil war

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Other Words from debilitate

debilitation \ di-​ˌbi-​lə-​ˈtā-​shən How to pronounce debilitation (audio) , dē-​ \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for debilitate

weaken, enfeeble, debilitate, undermine, sap, cripple, disable mean to lose or cause to lose strength or vigor. weaken may imply loss of physical strength, health, soundness, or stability or of quality, intensity, or effective power. a disease that weakens the body's defenses enfeeble implies a condition of marked weakness and helplessness. enfeebled by starvation debilitate suggests a less marked or more temporary impairment of strength or vitality. the debilitating effects of surgery undermine and sap suggest a weakening by something working surreptitiously and insidiously. a poor diet undermines your health drugs had sapped his ability to think cripple implies causing a serious loss of functioning power through damaging or removing an essential part or element. crippled by arthritis disable suggests bringing about impairment or limitation in a physical or mental ability. disabled by an injury sustained at work

Examples of debilitate in a Sentence

The virus debilitates the body's immune system. the heart surgery debilitated the college athlete beyond his worst fears

Recent Examples on the Web

One patient was Henry Molaison, a 24-year-old from Connecticut who suffered from debilitating epilepsy. Susan Pinker, WSJ, "An Unforgettable Memory Expert Muses at 100," 23 Aug. 2018 During an interview with the Associated Press, Morse’s parents, Michael and Khadeeja, said that their son, who suffers from debilitating mental illness, has been repeatedly hospitalized, refused to take his medication and ranted on social media. Deanna Paul, Washington Post, "A man said he was going to kill someone — then mowed down a family riding bikes, police say," 25 June 2018 In it, Paulson plays Ally Mayfair-Richards, a liberal-minded wife and mother who suffers from debilitating anxiety following Donald Trump’s election as president. Yvonne Villarreal, latimes.com, "Sarah Paulson's own fears became the basis for her character's anxieties in 'American Horror Story: Cult'," 31 May 2018 Put the World Cup in a country with debilitating summertime heat and no discernible soccer tradition? Matt Bonesteel, chicagotribune.com, "Former UEFA boss Michel Platini says 1998 World Cup draw was fixed," 18 May 2018 That's also one of the first things people do every morning, which makes this phobia extremely debilitating for those who are afflicted with it. Alexandra Gekas, Woman's Day, "10 Fascinating Phobias," 14 Sep. 2010 Chan, however, defeats them by taking the fight to a bridge, where their heels get wedged into the cracks between the planks, debilitating them. April Wolfe, chicagotribune.com, "The tortured history of action-film heroines and their high heels ('Jurassic World,' anyone?)," 22 June 2018 People with visible disfigurements, for instance, often face conscious and unconscious bias, staring, hostility, and discrimination in the workplace and in school, something that can be debilitating itself, hindering self-esteem and quality of life. Hilary George-parkin, Glamour, "This Swimsuit Line Wants to Change the Way We Think About Disfigurement," 28 Nov. 2018 Bankrupt and debilitated by mismanagement, the Puerto Rican electric grid was already in a state of near-collapse when Maria devastated the island in September and left millions without power. Michael Weissenstein And Danica Coto, Fox News, "Turmoil slows rebuilding of Puerto Rico's power grid," 19 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'debilitate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of debilitate

1533, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for debilitate

Latin debilitatus, past participle of debilitare to weaken, from debilis weak

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Statistics for debilitate

Last Updated

13 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for debilitate

The first known use of debilitate was in 1533

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More Definitions for debilitate

debilitate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of debilitate

formal + technical : to make (someone or something) weak : to reduce the strength of (someone or something)

debilitate

verb
de·​bil·​i·​tate | \ di-ˈbi-lə-ˌtāt How to pronounce debilitate (audio) \
debilitated; debilitating

Kids Definition of debilitate

: to make feeble : weaken a debilitating disease

debilitate

transitive verb
de·​bil·​i·​tate | \ di-ˈbil-ə-ˌtāt How to pronounce debilitate (audio) \
debilitated; debilitating

Medical Definition of debilitate

: to impair the strength of a body debilitated by disease

Other Words from debilitate

debilitation \ -​ˌbil-​ə-​ˈtā-​shən How to pronounce debilitation (audio) \ noun

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incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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