adjective ener·vate \ i-ˈnər-vət \

Definition of enervate

:lacking physical, mental, or moral vigor :enervated

enervate was our Word of the Day on 07/03/2011. Hear the podcast!

First Known Use of enervate




verb en·er·vate \ ˈe-nər-ˌvāt \

Definition of enervate

enervated; enervating
transitive verb
1 :to reduce the mental or moral vigor of
2 :to lessen the vitality or strength of


play \ˈe-nər-ˌvā-tiŋ-lē\ adverb


play \ˌe-nər-ˈvā-shən\ noun

Examples of enervate in a Sentence

  1. a lifetime of working in dreary jobs had enervated his very soul

  2. the surgery really enervated me for weeks afterwards

Recent Examples of enervate from the Web

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

Did You Know?

Enervate is a word that some people use without really knowing what it means. They seem to believe that because "enervate" looks a little bit like "energize" and "invigorate" it must share their meaning - but it is actually their antonym. "Enervate" comes from the Latin word enervare, which was formed from the prefix e-, meaning "out of," and "-nervare" (from nervus, meaning "sinew or nerve"). So, etymologically at least, someone who is enervated is "out of nerve."

Origin and Etymology of enervate

Latin enervatus, past participle of enervare, from e- + nervus sinew — more at nerve

Synonym Discussion of enervate

unnerve, enervate, unman, emasculate mean to deprive of strength or vigor and the capacity for effective action. unnerve implies marked often temporary loss of courage, self-control, or power to act.
    • unnerved by the near collision
enervate suggests a gradual physical or moral weakening (as through luxury or indolence) until one is too feeble to make an effort.
    • a nation's youth enervated by affluence and leisure
unman implies a loss of manly vigor, fortitude, or spirit.
    • a soldier unmanned by the terrors of battle
emasculate stresses a depriving of characteristic force by removing something essential.
    • an amendment that emasculates existing safeguards

ENERVATE Defined for English Language Learners



Definition of enervate for English Language Learners

  • : to make (someone or something) very weak or tired

Medical Dictionary


transitive verb en·er·vate \ ˈen-ər-ˌvāt \

medical Definition of enervate

enervated; enervating
1 obsolete :to cut the nerves or tendons of
2 :to lessen the vitality or strength of
  • heat enervates people


play \ˌen-ər-ˈvā-shən\ noun

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