de·​bil·​i·​tat·​ing | \ di-ˈbi-lə-ˌtā-tiŋ How to pronounce debilitating (audio) , dē- \

Definition of debilitating

: causing serious impairment of strength or ability to function debilitating pain a debilitating fear of public speaking a debilitating illness Thirty years have passed since a vaccine wiped out polio, but some of those who conquered the debilitating disease as children are now experiencing symptoms that seem all too familiar.— Fay Knicely Several of these drugs are now in clinical testing to determine whether they can reduce or eliminate the debilitating nausea suffered by cancer patients on chemotherapy.— Ron Cowen

Other Words from debilitating

debilitatingly adverb
Debilitatingly asthmatic as a child, Scarfe developed his talent while amusing himself and acquired the cynicism for authority that empowers his … drawings and sculpture during many frightening encounters with medical incompetence. — Ray Olson

Did you know?

The verb debilitate (and its adjective form debilitating) comes from the Latin word for "weak," debilis. Often used of disease—as in, "the patient was debilitated"—it can also suggest something that strikes like a disease or illness, "the actor was debilitated by stage fright." In sum, the word suggests a temporary impairment or a condition of weakness and helplessness.

First Known Use of debilitating

1641, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of debilitating was in 1641

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Cite this Entry

“Debilitating.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2022.

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