impotent

adjective im·po·tent \ ˈim-pə-tənt \

Definition of impotent

1 a :not potent :lacking in power, strength, or vigor :helpless
b :unable to engage in sexual intercourse because of inability to have and maintain an erection; broadly :sterile
2 obsolete :incapable of self-restraint :ungovernable

impotent

noun

impotently

adverb

Examples of impotent in a Sentence

  1. an impotent ruler who was just a figurehead

Recent Examples of impotent from the Web

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

Did You Know?

A police department may be impotent to stop the flow of drugs into a neighborhood. A group of countries may be impotent to force another country to change its human-rights policies. The impotence of a prime minister may be shown by her inability to get an important piece of legislation passed. Impotent and impotence may also have a special meaning, when they refer to a man's inability to have sexual intercourse.

Origin and Etymology of impotent

Middle English, from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French, from Latin impotent-, impotens, from in- + potent-, potens potent


IMPOTENT Defined for English Language Learners

impotent

adjective

Definition of impotent for English Language Learners

  • : lacking power or strength

  • of a man : unable to have sex : unable to get or keep an erection


IMPOTENT Defined for Kids

impotent

adjective im·po·tent \ ˈim-pə-tənt \

Definition of impotent for Students

:lacking in power, ability, or strength
  • an impotent medicine

Medical Dictionary

impotent

adjective im·po·tent \ ˈim-pət-ənt \

medical Definition of impotent

1 :not potent
  • an impotent vaccine
2 :unable to engage in sexual intercourse because of inability to have and maintain an erection; broadly :sterile


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