in·​con·​ti·​nence (ˌ)in-ˈkän-tə-nən(t)s How to pronounce incontinence (audio)
: 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
: 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
: 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 Moore also paid a group of women, each of whom cared for elderly family members, to come in to talk about incontinence. Lexi Pandell, WIRED, 31 Aug. 2023 This postpartum underwear was designed to help with any postpartum leakage and also for urinary incontinence, which is a common thing moms deal with after delivering a baby. Nikita Charuza, Peoplemag, 24 Aug. 2023 Most men in a study using different types of devices for incontinence after prostate surgery preferred to use a variety of devices and pads. Dr. Keith Roach, oregonlive, 28 July 2023 If any prolonged issues—such as painful intercourse or urinary incontinence—have not cleared up by one year, talk with an OB-GYN or health care provider, and be sure to reach out to a provider with any additional questions, concerns, or worries about your postpartum experience. Staci Tanouye, Parents, 29 Aug. 2023 This applies to almost anyone who struggles with any form of incontinence at any age. Haley Weiss, Time, 24 July 2023 Also known as post-acute sequelae of COVID-19, the term is used to encompass a wide variety of COVID consequences, from chronic-fatigue-like symptoms and subsequent heart disease to lasting lung damage and odd new symptoms like urinary incontinence, itching, and skin lesions. Byerin Prater, Fortune Well, 21 Aug. 2023 In fact, your health care provider might recommend them for perineal healing, postpartum incontinence, and recovery from pelvic floor disorders. Parents Editors, Parents, 10 Aug. 2023 About a quarter of U.S. women suffer from pelvic dysfunction, such as urinary incontinence, fecal incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse, according to a study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Rina Raphael, Los Angeles Times, 30 May 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'incontinence.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near incontinence

Cite this Entry

“Incontinence.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


in·​con·​ti·​nence (ˈ)in-ˈkänt-ᵊn-ən(t)s How to pronounce incontinence (audio)
: the quality or state of being incontinent

Medical Definition


in·​con·​ti·​nence (ˈ)in-ˈkänt-ᵊn-ən(t)s How to pronounce incontinence (audio)
: inability or failure to restrain sexual appetite
: inability of the body to control the evacuative functions
fecal incontinence
see stress incontinence, urge incontinence
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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