incontinence

noun in·con·ti·nence \ (ˌ)in-ˈkän-tə-nən(t)s \
|Updated on: 15 Aug 2018

Definition of incontinence

: the quality or state of being incontinent
  • We may reasonably trust … that public sobriety will reassert itself over the political and intellectual incontinence that currently commands the headlines.
  • —Woody West
: such as
a : inability of the body to control the evacuative functions of urination or defecation : partial or complete loss of bladder or bowel control
  • fecal incontinence
  • urinary incontinence
— see also stress incontinence, urge incontinence
b : failure to restrain sexual appetite
  • It is true that the religion of the missionaries has … effected some good. It has restrained the vices of theft and incontinence.
  • —Herman Melville

Recent Examples of incontinence from the Web

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

First Known Use of incontinence

14th century

in the meaning defined above

See Words from the same year
NEW! Time Traveler

Medical Dictionary

incontinence

noun in·con·ti·nence \ (ˈ)in-ˈkänt-ᵊn-ən(t)s \

medical Definition of incontinence

1 : inability or failure to restrain sexual appetite
2 : inability of the body to control the evacuative functions
  • fecal incontinence
— see stress incontinence, urge incontinence


Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

WORD OF THE DAY

resembling the blue of the sky

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet-pasta-spelling-help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!