in·​con·​ti·​nent | \ (ˌ)in-ˈkän-tə-nənt How to pronounce incontinent (audio) \

Definition of incontinent

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: not continent: such as
a(1) : lacking self-restraint
(2) : not being under control
b : unable to voluntarily control retention of urine or feces in the body



Definition of incontinent (Entry 2 of 2)

Examples of incontinent in a Sentence

Adjective special products for incontinent patients
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Services at the new Center include: Urogynecology: Over 11 million women in the United States are incontinent, and this is a health issue that is not easy to discuss for many of them. St. Elizabeth Healthcare,, "Convenient, comprehensive women’s care in the Northern Kentucky Community," 9 Aug. 2019 Despite fetal surgery, many children with spina bifida are incontinent. Denise Grady, New York Times, "A Boy Who Had Spinal Surgery in the Womb Stands on His Own Two Feet," 24 June 2019 Plummer’s brush with the industry left her incontinent. Matthew Goldstein,, "Lawyers lure women into often-unneeded surgery," 14 Apr. 2018 An incontinent resident had an accident, and Ms. Mangayan would have to clean it up. Miriam Jordan, New York Times, "When the Elderly Call for Help, a ‘Chain’ Immigrant Often Answers," 25 Mar. 2018 It was parked under a giant tree that apparently housed a family of incontinent birds, because my windshield was covered in poop. Charlotte Andersen, Redbook, "19 People Reveal the Exact Moment When They Knew They Were In Love," 23 May 2017 In another recent case, a car dropped off at First Step Communities an elderly woman who was incontinent and had soiled her clothing. Cynthia Hubert And Ryan Lillis, sacbee, "Hospitals that leave homeless patients on shelter doorsteps face city crackdown | The Sacramento Bee," 21 Feb. 2018 Meet Medha Godbole, 58, whose 60-year-old husband, Sanjay, is paraplegic, nonverbal and incontinent. Ron Lieber, New York Times, "Under New Tax Plan, the Cost of Aging Could Rise," 8 Dec. 2017 In September, a Philadelphia jury awarded $57 million to a Pennsylvania woman who required three operations to remove the implants which left her chronically incontinent. Sam Wood,, "Johnson & Johnson ordered to pay $15M in vaginal mesh case," 15 Dec. 2017

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


14th century, in the meaning defined above


15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for incontinent


Middle English, from Anglo-French or Latin; Anglo-French, from Latin incontinent-, incontinens, from in- + continent-, continens continent


Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin in continenti

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Time Traveler for incontinent

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

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Cite this Entry

“Incontinent.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 27 January 2020.

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More Definitions for incontinent


How to pronounce incontinent (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of incontinent

medical : not having control of your bladder or bowels


in·​con·​ti·​nent | \ (ˈ)in-ˈkänt-ᵊn-ənt How to pronounce incontinent (audio) \

Medical Definition of incontinent

: not continent especially : unable to retain a bodily discharge (as urine) voluntarily

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More from Merriam-Webster on incontinent

Spanish Central: Translation of incontinent

Nglish: Translation of incontinent for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of incontinent for Arabic Speakers

Comments on incontinent

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one that suddenly gains wealth or power

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