inability

noun
in·​abil·​i·​ty | \ ˌi-nə-ˈbi-lə-tē \

Definition of inability

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

But Intel blamed China, weakness in cloud-computing customers, a weakened modem market, and an inability to manufacture enough processors as reasons the company’s revenues did not meet expectations. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Intel addresses processor shortages, CEO hunt after reporting disappointing fourth-quarter results," 24 Jan. 2019 What’s not rare are lockdowns, which have become a hallmark of American education and a byproduct of this country’s inability to curb its gun violence epidemic. John Woodrow Cox, The Seattle Times, "Numerous school lockdowns are traumatizing the nation’s children," 26 Dec. 2018 Canada’s concessions to the US on agriculture have roiled politicians in the aftermath of the agreement — and there’s also some pushback on Canada’s inability to resolve steel and aluminum tariffs and all the issues around Section 232. Jen Kirby, Vox, "The three countries signed the deal at the G20 on Friday.," 30 Nov. 2018 But there were situations where some of the officers had expressed to me a desire to do these, but an inability technically. Julia Felsenthal, Vogue, "Crime + Punishment," 22 Aug. 2018 Despite this new supporting evidence, there are still gaps in the theory—a major one being an inability to explain how early RNA might have copied itself. Jill Kiedaisch, Popular Mechanics, "Life on Earth May Have Been Born From a Maelstrom of Molten Iron," 15 Jan. 2019 As Ha Jin tells us, the fatal weakness in Li Po’s character was his inability to abandon his worldly interests and live a truly eremitic life, a flaw that would spell his ruin. Yunte Huang, WSJ, "‘The Banished Immortal’ Review: ‘Heaven Begot a Talent Like Me’," 11 Jan. 2019 But the hardest sell for me was always the inability to change a traded pokémon’s name. Megan Farokhmanesh, The Verge, "Pokémon’s creators are divided on whether to use nicknames," 15 Oct. 2018 Part of her frustration with the previous regime was their inability to attract, or sometimes even get an audience with, top free agents. Tania Ganguli, latimes.com, "Magic Johnson says he'll step down if the Lakers don't get marquee free agents by next summer," 27 June 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about inability

Statistics for inability

Last Updated

17 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for inability

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for inability

inability

noun

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 \

Kids Definition of inability

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

What made you want to look up inability? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to deny responsibility for

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!