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 debilitate (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 The absence of strong copyright laws continues to debilitate Cambodian cinema. BostonGlobe.com, "Mao Ayuth, filmmaker who survived the Khmer Rouge, dies at 76," 22 Apr. 2021 Prodigious force is required to propel the 245-pound Texas senior skyward, and that sort of strain and joint load can debilitate over time. Nick Moyle, ExpressNews.com, "Texas hopes F Jericho Sims will soar in his senior season," 13 Nov. 2020 Seizing the moment to debilitate Hezbollah would be a huge step forward for maximum pressure. Carine Hajjar, National Review, "Now Is the Time to Force Hezbollah out of Lebanon," 22 Aug. 2020 The year after having my daughter, debilitating anxiety came out of the blue. Health.com, "This Woman Was Bitten by a Tick in 2007—and She's Still Dealing With Chronic Lyme Disease Symptoms," 28 May 2020 If Kim were to be debilitated, the biggest immediate question mark surrounds succession. Iain Marlow, Bloomberg.com, "Nobody’s Expecting North Korea to Implode Without Kim Jong Un," 10 May 2020 Neurology nurses and physician assistants learned to give care beyond their training, tending to people debilitated by a disease still not fully understood. Sarah Feldberg, SFChronicle.com, "‘An honor and a privilege’: UCSF doctor reflects on month in NY at the heart of the coronavirus pandemic," 14 May 2020 Marisol was raised by a single mother, an immigrant from the Philippines who cleaned hotel rooms until she was debilitated by lupus. New York Times, "Despite the Pandemic, My College Is Allowing Grades. Isn’t That Unfair?," 12 May 2020 Bloom’s affinity began at age 12, when Falstaff rescued him from ‘‘debilitating self-consciousness,’’ and he more than lived up to his hero’s oversized aura in person. BostonGlobe.com, "NEW YORK — Harold Bloom, the eminent critic and Yale professor whose seminal ‘‘The Anxiety of Influence’’ and melancholy regard for literature’s old masters made him a popular author and standard-bearer of Western civilization amid modern trends, died Monday at age 89.," 16 Oct. 2019

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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Time Traveler for debilitate

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The first known use of debilitate was in 1533

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Last Updated

2 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Debilitate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/debilitate. Accessed 10 May. 2021.

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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 debilitate (audio) \ noun

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Comments on debilitate

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