in·​ca·​pac·​i·​ty | \ ˌin-kə-ˈpa-sə-tē How to pronounce incapacity (audio) , -ˈpa-stē \
plural incapacities

Definition of incapacity

: the quality or state of being incapable especially : lack of physical or intellectual power or of natural or legal qualifications

Examples of incapacity in a Sentence

I'm aware of my weaknesses and incapacities. her entrenched incapacity for decision-making doesn't make her a very good boss
Recent Examples on the Web Barring the senator’s obvious incapacity, one individual shouldn’t have the power to pick California’s two senators. Los Angeles Times, 20 Apr. 2022 These benefits ensure that the financial burden of incapacity won’t derail all your other plans for your estate. Joseph Milano, Forbes, 25 Mar. 2022 Who wants to talk about their own death, incapacity, even retirement? Jayme Deerwester, USA TODAY, 23 Feb. 2022 Therefore, when capable, feign incapacity; when active, inactivity. Moran Zavdi, Forbes, 22 Oct. 2021 Political and economic incapacity in many fledgling nation-states also forced their leaders to seek help from their former overlords. Pankaj Mishra, The New Yorker, 29 Nov. 2021 That is exceptionally dangerous because many doctors are reluctant to get involved in a legal question of incapacity. Carolyn Rosenblatt, Forbes, 15 Nov. 2021 In court, Superior Court Judge Cheri Pham told the victims’ family members that Gonzalez’ incapacity forced her to halt proceedings. Los Angeles Times, 5 Nov. 2021 Voters can be determined ineligible for a variety of reasons, including a felony conviction, legal determination of mental incapacity and failing to list a valid Florida residence. Logan Dragone,, 2 Nov. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'incapacity.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of incapacity

1611, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for incapacity

French incapacité, from Middle French, from in- + capacité capacity

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Time Traveler for incapacity

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The first known use of incapacity was in 1611

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Dictionary Entries Near incapacity



in capite

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Cite this Entry

“Incapacity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for incapacity


in·​ca·​pac·​i·​ty | \ ˌin-kə-ˈpa-sə-tē How to pronounce incapacity (audio) \
plural incapacities

Legal Definition of incapacity

1 : the quality or state of being incapable especially : lack of legal qualifications due to age or mental condition — compare capacity
2 : the inability of an injured worker to perform the duties required in a job for which he or she is qualified — compare disability sense 1

More from Merriam-Webster on incapacity

Nglish: Translation of incapacity for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of incapacity for Arabic Speakers


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