dis·​em·​pow·​er | \ ˌdis-im-ˈpau̇(-ə)r How to pronounce disempower (audio) \
disempowered; disempowering; disempowers

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 \ ˌdis-​im-​ˈpau̇(-​ə)r-​mənt How to pronounce disempowerment (audio) \ 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

In every successful case Ms. Kleinfeld studied, centralizing power through surveillance, intelligence or asset seizure was essential to disempowering corrupt and complicit parts of government. Ann Toews, WSJ, "‘A Savage Order’ Review: When a State Fuels Bloodshed," 11 Dec. 2018 One of Khosrowshahi’s first accomplishments was a grand-bargain deal that restructured the company’s governance and disempowered some early power players like former CEO Travis Kalanick and Benchmark (who were in the middle of a lawsuit). Theodore Schleifer, Recode, "Uber’s Dara Khosrowshahi thinks he has controlled his famously fractious board of directors," 9 Oct. 2018 And then there were the violent acts and threats leading up to the election that contributed to an environment that left many voters, in particular people of color and members of minority groups, increasingly disempowered. Bree Newsome, SELF, "The 2018 Midterm Elections Proved That Change Must Happen from the Ground Up," 15 Nov. 2018 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

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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Statistics for disempower

Last Updated

23 Apr 2019

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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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Comments on disempower

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


a strong desire or propensity

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