dis·​em·​pow·​er | \ˌdis-im-ˈpau̇(-ə)r \

Definition of disempower 

transitive verb

: to deprive of power, authority, or influence : make weak, ineffectual, or unimportant

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Other Words from disempower

disempowerment \ -​mənt \ noun

Examples of disempower in a Sentence

They have been disempowered by a society that believes they are intellectually inferior.

Recent Examples on the Web

Racial gerrymandering — that is, the intentional manipulation of district boundaries in a way to favor one group of voters and disempower another — has already had its day in court and been found unconstitutional. Cristian Farias, Daily Intelligencer, "Why the Supreme Court Keeps Dodging the Question of Partisan Gerrymandering," 18 June 2018 Change has come abruptly since Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman charted out plans to wean Saudi Arabia off oil two years ago, which will be tough to do if half its population is disempowered. Fortune, "Saudi Arabia Is About to Let Women Drive. Here's Why Some Will Keep Their Driving Licenses a Secret," 22 June 2018 But again, June finds a way to fire back when the Waterfords disempower her. Rena Gross, Billboard, "14 Significant Moments From 'The Handmaid's Tale' Season 2, Episode 10 'The Last Ceremony'," 20 June 2018 The separation is particularly traumatizing to young children who don't understand what's happening, Fink said, adding that the last memory the children might have of their parents is watching them being taken away, humiliated and disempowered. Frank Witsil, Detroit Free Press, "Experts: Immigrant kids torn from families face lifetime of damage," 19 June 2018 The plaintiffs in that case, including the Georgia chapter of the NAACP, argued the districts were changed to disempower black voters. Mark Niesse, ajc, "U.S. Supreme Court ruling on gerrymandering could impact Georgia," 9 June 2018 Is getting paid for being beautiful and nearly naked inherently disempowering? Ben Popken, NBC News, "Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue goes #MeToo. Not everyone is happy," 13 Feb. 2018 When policy is designed or administered in ways that are discriminatory, stingy, or unreliable, then the people meant to benefit from such policy are disempowered. Jamila Michener, Vox, "The politics and policy of racism in American health care," 24 May 2018 Did Frederick Douglass become disempowered by discussing his suffering as a slave? Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "The Centrist Grievance Against “Victim Politics”," 7 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'disempower.' 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 disempower

1813, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

25 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for disempower

The first known use of disempower was in 1813

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English Language Learners Definition of disempower

: to cause (a person or a group of people) to be less likely than others to succeed : to prevent (a person or group) from having power, authority, or influence

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