impair

verb
im·​pair | \ im-ˈper How to pronounce impair (audio) \
impaired; impairing; impairs

Definition of impair

transitive verb

: to diminish in function, ability, or quality : to weaken or make worse It has been known for nearly 100 years that memory is impaired by bilateral damage to either of two brain regions …— Larry R. Squire The use of drugs further complicates the situation of these families and sometimes impairs their ability to raise children.— Ellen L. Bassuk … the prospect of generating normal profitability is impaired by excessive debt service.— John Nozell The physician also checks for signs of endometriosis, a condition in which the cells that normally compose the uterine lining grow outside the uterus, sometimes impairing fertility.— Martha Southgate

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Other Words from impair

impairer noun
… the overwhelming majority of hookups involved alcohol use—an impairer of sexual judgment if ever there was one … — Tiffany Sharples

Choose the Right Synonym for impair

injure, harm, hurt, damage, impair, mar mean to affect injuriously. injure implies the inflicting of anything detrimental to one's looks, comfort, health, or success. badly injured in an accident harm often stresses the inflicting of pain, suffering, or loss. careful not to harm the animals hurt implies inflicting a wound to the body or to the feelings. hurt by their callous remarks damage suggests injury that lowers value or impairs usefulness. a table damaged in shipping impair suggests a making less complete or efficient by deterioration or diminution. years of smoking had impaired his health mar applies to injury that spoils perfection (as of a surface) or causes disfigurement. the text is marred by many typos

Examples of impair in a Sentence

Smoking can impair your health. Drinking impairs a person's ability to think clearly. His memory was so impaired by age that he often forgot where he was.
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Recent Examples on the Web Avoid substances that might impair your response time. Amy Marturana Winderl, SELF, "5 Road Safety Tips Even the Most Experienced Drivers Sometimes Forget," 19 Oct. 2020 But solid axles, particularly front ones, impair the ride and handling of a vehicle in any type of driving that doesn’t involve rock crawling. Wes Siler, Outside Online, "Inside My Custom Toyota Land Cruiser Build," 15 Oct. 2020 For dehydration to temporarily impair the kidneys is not uncommon. James Hamblin, The Atlantic, "The President’s Doctor Is Doing Harm," 6 Oct. 2020 Crosby is suffering from a condition that may impair her judgement. Carol Robinson | Crobinson@al.com, al, "Missing 85-year-old Russell County woman last seen in Birmingham," 1 Oct. 2020 The scientists specifically looked for mutations that would impair the production of type I interferons—a set of proteins made by every cell in the body that comprise a first-line defense against viruses. Claudia Wallis, Scientific American, "One in Seven Dire COVID Cases May Result from a Faulty Immune Response," 30 Sep. 2020 Heat can impair sleep among those who do not have access to air conditioners, which can have widespread impacts on their life. refinery29.com, "The Surprising Ways Climate Change Is Already Affecting Our Health," 25 Sep. 2020 The concern is that radio and electromagnetic fields could impair cognitive performance, causing momentary confusion. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Are Cockpit Electromagnetic Fields Killing Pilots?," 15 Sep. 2020 The November election could severely impair the long-term success of my business if Biden is elected. Rachel Adams-heard, Bloomberg.com, "Even Now, U.S. Oil Drillers Remain Focused on Output Over Debt," 23 Sep. 2020

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

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for impair

Middle English empeiren, from Anglo-French empeirer, from Vulgar Latin *impejorare, from Latin in- + Late Latin pejorare to make worse — more at pejorative

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Time Traveler for impair

Time Traveler

The first known use of impair was in the 14th century

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Statistics for impair

Last Updated

23 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Impair.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/impair. Accessed 30 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for impair

impair

verb
im·​pair | \ im-ˈper How to pronounce impair (audio) \
impaired; impairing

Kids Definition of impair

: to make less (as in quantity, value, or strength) or worse : damage Smoking can impair your health.
im·​pair | \ im-ˈpa(ə)r, -ˈpe(ə)r How to pronounce impair (audio) \

Medical Definition of impair

: to diminish in function, ability, or quality : to weaken or make worse It has been known for nearly 100 years that memory is impaired by bilateral damage to either of two brain regions …— Larry R. Squire The physician also checks for signs of endometriosis, a condition in which the cells that normally compose the uterine lining grow outside the uterus, sometimes impairing fertility.— Martha Southgate

Other Words from impair

impairment \ -​ˈpa(ə)r-​mənt How to pronounce impairment (audio) \ noun
im·​pair | \ im-ˈper How to pronounce impair (audio) \

Legal Definition of impair

1 : to damage or make worse by or as if by diminishing impaired health
2 : to diminish the value of (property or property rights) specifically : to diminish the value of (legal contractual obligations) to the point that a party loses the benefit of the contract or the contract otherwise becomes invalid a law impairing a state's own obligations was entitled to less deference — Gerald Gunther — see also contract clause

Other Words from impair

impairment noun

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Comments on impair

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