incapacitate

verb
in·​ca·​pac·​i·​tate | \ ˌin-kə-ˈpa-sə-ˌtāt How to pronounce incapacitate (audio) \
incapacitated; incapacitating

Definition of incapacitate

transitive verb

1 : to deprive of capacity or natural power : disable
2 : to make legally incapable or ineligible

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Other Words from incapacitate

incapacitation \ ˌin-​kə-​ˌpa-​sə-​ˈtā-​shən How to pronounce incapacitate (audio) \ noun

Examples of incapacitate in a Sentence

The class teaches you how to incapacitate an attacker. The stroke left her completely incapacitated. He was incapacitated by the pain. a computer system incapacitated by software problems
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Recent Examples on the Web These devices are designed to incapacitate an assailant with a powerful electric shock, sending signals to the central nervous system that are both painful and capable of causing severe muscle contractions. Tim Macwelch, Outdoor Life, "Personal Defense Tools and Weapons That Could Save Your Life in an Emergency," 4 Nov. 2020 Backed by secularist statute books, the state could take far more aggressive measures to incapacitate Islamist networks — diminishing their finances, their foreign support, and their infiltration and exploitation of all facets of French society. Martha Lee, National Review, "France’s Flawed Stand against Islamist Radicalization," 27 Oct. 2020 But it’s not the American way to lock up a large number of peaceable folks to incapacitate a small number of dangerous ones. Steve Chapman, chicagotribune.com, "Column: In the debate, Trump kept demonizing immigrants," 23 Oct. 2020 For predators like spiders and cone snails, causing pain is an effective way to incapacitate prey. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, "How Venomous Australian Stinging Trees Cause So Much Pain," 22 Sep. 2020 It’s February of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has yet to fully incapacitate the U.S., and movie theaters are still open for business. Emma Specter, Vogue, "The Trailer for Rebecca Is Here, and It’s Wonderfully Creepy," 8 Sep. 2020 In both encounters, juvenile suspects used chemical irritants to incapacitate their victims. Liz Sawyer, Star Tribune, "Back-to-back Labor Day carjackings in Minneapolis may be linked," 7 Sep. 2020 The Kenosha Professional Police Association and state investigators said two officers fired Tasers that did not incapacitate Blake before the gunfire. Ray Sanchez, CNN, "The week after Jacob Blake's shooting highlights America's anguished racial reckoning," 30 Aug. 2020 These projectiles, intended to incapacitate violent aggressors without killing them, have evolved from the rubber bullets developed in the 1970s by the British military to quell uprisings in Northern Ireland. Kaiser Health News, The Denver Post, "Fractured skulls, lost eyes: Police often break own rules using “rubber bullets”," 23 June 2020

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

1657, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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Time Traveler for incapacitate

Time Traveler

The first known use of incapacitate was in 1657

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Statistics for incapacitate

Last Updated

24 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Incapacitate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/incapacitate. Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for incapacitate

incapacitate

verb
How to pronounce incapacitate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of incapacitate

: to make (someone or something) unable to work, move, or function in the usual way

incapacitate

transitive verb
in·​ca·​pac·​i·​tate | \ ˌin-kə-ˈpa-sə-ˌtāt How to pronounce incapacitate (audio) \
incapacitated; incapacitating

Legal Definition of incapacitate

1 : to make legally incapable or ineligible mental illness alone will not incapacitate a person from making a valid contractLandmark Med. Ctr. v. Gauthier, 635 A.2d 1145 (1994)
2 : to deprive of capacity or natural power an injury that incapacitates the employee

Other Words from incapacitate

incapacitation \ -​ˌpa-​sə-​ˈtā-​shən How to pronounce incapacitate (audio) \ noun

More from Merriam-Webster on incapacitate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for incapacitate

Nglish: Translation of incapacitate for Spanish Speakers

Comments on incapacitate

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