inability

noun
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 Their inability to reach an agreement on that issue left in place guidance that says those applications must be reviewed — even though that isn’t the case, according to the commission’s staff. Patrick Marley, USA TODAY, "Wisconsin recount gets off to a rough start as Elections Commission repeatedly clashes," 19 Nov. 2020 Their inability to agree leaves in place guidance that says absentee ballot applications must be approved as part of the recount, even though commission staff said that's not required under the law. Arkansas Online, "Wisconsin issues recount order in 2 counties as Trump wanted," 19 Nov. 2020 Their inability to reach an agreement on that issue left in place guidance that says those applications must be reviewed — even though that isn’t the case, according to the commission’s staff. Patrick Marley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin recount gets off to a rough start as Elections Commission repeatedly clashes," 18 Nov. 2020 For many casting their votes on Nov. 8, Suu Kyi’s inability to change the constitution, remove the military from politics or deliver clear economic gains ended up being immaterial, or at least secondary to their faith in her. Washington Post, "Suu Kyi’s godlike status drove her Myanmar election win. It threatens to rip the country apart.," 18 Nov. 2020 Others worry the attack signifies the government's inability to secure the country, two weeks before presidential and legislative elections. Sam Mednick, Star Tribune, "Attack on Burkina Faso mosque wounds 6, says government," 8 Nov. 2020 But what followed — Hillary Clinton’s inability to shatter the gender barrier, the fraught racial relations of the Trump era — made the prospect of electing a woman, much less a woman of color, to national office an exceedingly tall order. Tribune News Service, oregonlive, "Kamala Harris first woman, first Black, first Asian American vice president," 7 Nov. 2020 But what followed — Hillary Clinton’s inability to shatter the gender barrier, the fraught racial relations of the Trump era — made the prospect of electing a woman, much less a woman of color, to national office an exceedingly tall order. Los Angeles Times, "Kamala Harris makes history many times over as vice president-elect," 7 Nov. 2020 His inability to deal with (the Black Lives Matter movement) as president rather than just tweet about it almost ignited the fire. Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press, "Voters feel mostly relief as grueling election season ends in Michigan," 4 Nov. 2020

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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Time Traveler for inability

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for inability

Last Updated

23 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Inability.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/inability. Accessed 27 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for inability

inability

noun
How to pronounce inability (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of inability

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

inability

noun
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.

More from Merriam-Webster on inability

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for inability

Nglish: Translation of inability for Spanish Speakers

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