incapable

adjective
in·​ca·​pa·​ble | \ (ˌ)in-ˈkā-pə-bəl How to pronounce incapable (audio) \

Definition of incapable

1 : lacking capacity, ability, or qualification for the purpose or end in view: such as
a archaic : not able to take in, hold, or keep
b archaic : not receptive
c : not being in a state or of a kind to admit : insusceptible
d : not able or fit for the doing or performance : incompetent
2 : lacking legal qualification or power (as by reason of mental incompetence) : disqualified

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Other Words from incapable

incapability \ (ˌ)in-​ˌkā-​pə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce incapability (audio) \ noun
incapableness \ (ˌ)in-​ˈkā-​pə-​bəl-​nəs How to pronounce incapableness (audio) \ noun
incapably \ (ˌ)in-​ˈkā-​pə-​blē How to pronounce incapably (audio) \ adverb

Examples of incapable in a Sentence

hired a supremely incapable assistant who only made a mess of things

Recent Examples on the Web

With the exception of Netflix’s quietly revelatory Dating Around, many dating shows with LGBTQ (and especially bisexual) contestants have treated them as hypersexual or prurient anomalies, as enigmas who are incapable of settling down. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "The Slow, Messy Evolution of LGBTQ Dating Shows," 4 July 2019 Successive mayors from different parties have all proved incapable of solving the city’s garbage woes, which have re-emerged dramatically since Mayor Virginia Raggi of the populist 5-Star Movement took the helm three years ago. Washington Post, "Rome doctors warn of health hazards from city’s garbage woes," 26 June 2019 Each was incapable of consent when they were assaulted, the judge said. CBS News, "Bill Cosby appeals sex assault conviction over testimony from other accusers," 25 June 2019 Even new songs from Taylor Swift, DJ Khaled and Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber are proving incapable of knocking Lil Nas X's breakout hit from the No. 1 spot. Maeve Mcdermott, USA TODAY, "The next ‘Old Town Road?' Trap-country goes viral again with Blanco Brown’s ‘The Git Up’," 11 June 2019 Congress has proved incapable of producing a responsible budget. John Steele Gordon, WSJ, "Why We Have So Many Shutdowns," 16 Jan. 2019 Just as important, mainstream news outlets proved incapable of denting the movement despite debunking Trump's fact-free claims and pillorying his outrageous behavior. Jack Holmes, Esquire, "The Death of Shame, or the Rise of Shamelessness?," 31 Jan. 2018 Many go unreported because older adults may not know how to get help or may be incapable of asking for help. Linda R. Phillips, The Conversation, "Elder abuse increasing, without increased awareness," 14 June 2019 American commentators are incapable of seeing anything anywhere in the world except in terms of Donald Trump. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, "Rory Stewart Insists that Brexit Is Different from Trump," 12 June 2019

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

1594, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for incapable

Middle French, from in- + capable capable

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Statistics for incapable

Last Updated

9 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for incapable

The first known use of incapable was in 1594

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More Definitions for incapable

incapable

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of incapable

: not able to do something : not capable

incapable

adjective
in·​ca·​pa·​ble | \ in-ˈkā-pə-bəl How to pronounce incapable (audio) \

Kids Definition of incapable

: not able to do something Penguins are incapable of flight.

incapable

adjective
in·​ca·​pa·​ble

Legal Definition of incapable

: lacking legal qualification or power (as by reason of mental incompetence) — see also incapacity

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Comments on incapable

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