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

The Austrian seemed to be incapable of sticking with one colour for any length of time. SI.com, "50 Most Unforgettable Haircuts in World Football," 10 July 2019 If the president and the U.S. government are incapable of caring for and providing for these juvenile and adult detainees, send in the Red Cross and others. Dp Opinion, The Denver Post, "Letters: Rounding up geese from parks — cruel or beneficial? (7/7/19)," 7 July 2019 Many of these people are simply incapable of helping themselves. James Sutton, National Review, "Don’t Blame Big Tech for San Francisco’s Homelessness Crisis," 13 June 2019 The Wolverines were incapable of playing anything but ball-possession football, something that puts an incredible amount of pressure on the defense to be elite every game. Nick Baumgardner, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan football will win the Big Ten this season. Here's why," 13 Jan. 2019 The technology that undergirds Wi-Fi has improved over the years, and older routers and gadgets are simply incapable of dishing out or receiving the fastest signals on the market. Alexander George, Popular Mechanics, "How to Test Your Wi-Fi Speed," 15 Oct. 2018 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

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

23 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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something desired as essential

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