impuissant

adjective
im·​puis·​sant | \ (ˌ)im-ˈpwi-sᵊnt How to pronounce impuissant (audio) , (ˌ)im-ˈpyü-ə-sənt; ˌim-pyü-ˈi-sᵊnt \

Definition of impuissant

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Both the adjective "impuissant" and the noun "impuissance" came to English from Middle French. They are derived from the prefix in- (meaning "not") and the noun "puissance," which means "power" and is a word in English in its own right. Puissance derives from the verb poer, meaning "to be able or "to be powerful," and is ultimately related to the same Latin roots that gave us words such as "power" and "potent." While both "puissant" and "impuissance" first appeared in English during the 15th century, "impuissant" did not make its first appearance in our language until 1629.

Examples of impuissant in a Sentence

claims that such restrictions on military interventions on foreign soil would render the nation an impuissant giant on the world stage
Recent Examples on the Web The failsafe option of fake news Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the impuissant opposition, settled down in a comfortable chair, and readied himself for his regular, televised roasting. Isobel Thompson, The Hive, 5 Apr. 2017 The failsafe option of fake news Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the impuissant opposition, settled down in a comfortable chair, and readied himself for his regular, televised roasting. Isobel Thompson, The Hive, 5 Apr. 2017

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

First Known Use of impuissant

1629, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for impuissant

French

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The first known use of impuissant was in 1629

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Dictionary Entries Near impuissant

impuissance

impuissant

impulse

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Cite this Entry

“Impuissant.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/impuissant. Accessed 7 Jul. 2022.

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