in·​abil·​i·​ty | \ ˌi-nə-ˈbi-lə-tē How to pronounce inability (audio) \

Definition of inability

: lack of sufficient power, resources, or capacity his inability to do math

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Examples of inability in a Sentence

She has shown an inability to concentrate. the inability of the government to cope with the problem

Recent Examples on the Web

Here are some: * frantic panting * a bright-red or dark tongue and gums * inability to stand upright * seizing * diarrhea and/or vomiting * coma Suspect heatstroke? Heloise, Washington Post, "Hints From Heloise: Watch for heatstroke in dogs," 24 Aug. 2019 Symptoms include short-term memory loss, communication impairment, inability to focus, lack of reasoning and judgment, and sometimes problems with visual perception, Mathew said. Deborah Sullivan Brennan, San Diego Union-Tribune, "New Alzheimer’s care center planned in San Marcos," 15 Aug. 2019 The Lions’ inability to finish chances — placing only two shots on frame despite taking 18 — on Tuesday night led to the the team’s exit from the Open Cup. Julia Poe, Pro Soccer USA, "Orlando City heads to Toronto for crucial Eastern Conference matchup," 11 Aug. 2019 Art Modell’s inability to get the heart of a winning team into camp initiated the slide of a season that ended at 3-13. Doug Lesmerises,, "Looking forward to the day Browns RB Nick Chubb is good enough to hold out: Doug Lesmerises," 10 Aug. 2019 Selman has not pitched in the majors because of a career-long inability to control his walks, but the Royals’ 2012 second-round pick has had a breakthrough season at Sacramento. Henry Schulman,, "Giants trade Drew Pomeranz, Ray Black to Brewers for prospect Mauricio Dubon," 31 July 2019 An inability to make appointments as was promised by DPS. Dallas News, "If your driver’s license lacks a star you might need to spend hours at the license center. Ugh.," 19 July 2019 The hospital’s inability to negotiate a new contract with UnitedHealthcare by June 30 left about 17,500 patients scrambling to find another medical facility or go out of network. Cindy Krischer Goodman,, "Answers to your questions about how Boca Regional dispute with UnitedHealthcare affects your coverage," 9 July 2019 The inability to win one-run games (12-17 for the season), and to win at home (17-22). azcentral, "Can the Diamondbacks be something more than perfectly mediocre this season?," 26 June 2019

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

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for inability

Middle English inhabilite disqualification, from Medieval Latin inhabilitas, from Latin in- + habilitas ability

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Statistics for inability

Last Updated

1 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for inability

The first known use of inability was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for inability



English Language Learners Definition of inability

: the condition of not being able to do something : lack of ability


in·​abil·​i·​ty | \ ˌi-nə-ˈbi-lə-tē How to pronounce inability (audio) \

Kids Definition of inability

: the condition of being unable to do something : lack of ability He laughed at my inability to sing.

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More from Merriam-Webster on inability

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with inability

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for inability

Spanish Central: Translation of inability

Nglish: Translation of inability for Spanish Speakers

Comments on inability

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recurring in steady succession

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