in·​abil·​i·​ty ˌi-nə-ˈbi-lə-tē How to pronounce inability (audio)
: lack of sufficient power, resources, or capacity
his inability to do math

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 Black and Hispanic Americans were twice as likely as white Americans to lose Medicaid last year because of an inability to complete renewal forms during a vast trimming of the program’s rolls, according to a study published on Monday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. Noah Weiland, New York Times, 3 June 2024 Typically, a judge’s recusal points to a conflict of interest or an inability to remain impartial. Jenna Barackman, Kansas City Star, 3 June 2024 As of now, experts said there’s little sign that the inability to refinance will cause a bust similar to the collapse of the 2000s housing bubble. Andrew Khouri, Los Angeles Times, 30 May 2024 And so, no matter how many people are dying from Israeli military operations, there are people dying every single day from an inability to access food and medicine. CBS News, 26 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for inability 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'inability.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near inability

Cite this Entry

“Inability.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


in·​abil·​i·​ty ˌin-ə-ˈbil-ət-ē How to pronounce inability (audio)
: lack of ability, power, or means
his inability to carry a tune

More from Merriam-Webster on inability

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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