in·​con·​ti·​nence | \ (ˌ)in-ˈkän-tə-nən(t)s How to pronounce incontinence (audio) \

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

Examples of incontinence in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Medical societies also impose an array of clinical metrics and treatment guidelines, for everything from asthma to urinary incontinence, in an effort to stamp out variations in care. Sandeep Jauhar, WSJ, "The Crushing Burden of Healthcare Microregulation," 28 Apr. 2021 The company will also raise prices on Always Discreet adult incontinence products and Luvs diapers. Nathaniel Meyersohn, CNN, "You could soon pay more for Pampers, Tampax and other brands," 20 Apr. 2021 And for people like Jackson, that includes access to absorbent briefs, diapers, pads and other incontinence products that are essential for daily living. NBC News, "Isolated and alone: Nonprofits see explosion of need for adult incontinence products," 8 Mar. 2021 Our take: These comfortable disposables for female dogs work well for younger untrained pets, and also provide overnight protection for older females with incontinence. Michael Pollick,, "The best dog diaper," 24 Mar. 2021 Yet his greatest anxiety does not concern his impotence and incontinence, or his deteriorating short-term memory. David Remnick, The New Yorker, "The Secrets Philip Roth Didn’t Keep," 22 Mar. 2021 Disposables are better for younger children and those with significant incontinence. Michael Pollick,, "The best bedwetting underwear," 2 Mar. 2021 While Medicaid pays for incontinence supplies, the coverage varies by state and can be difficult to qualify for. NBC News, "Isolated and alone: Nonprofits see explosion of need for adult incontinence products," 8 Mar. 2021 Like humans, aging pets deal with arthritis, failing eyesight, hearing loss, incontinence, confusion and thinning hair. Marni Jameson,, "Living with Pets, part 1: How to help your pet age in place," 5 Mar. 2021

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.

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First Known Use of incontinence

14th century, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for incontinence

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The first known use of incontinence was in the 14th century

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Statistics for incontinence

Last Updated

7 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Incontinence.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for incontinence


in·​con·​ti·​nence | \ (ˈ)in-ˈkänt-ᵊn-ən(t)s How to pronounce incontinence (audio) \

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

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