powerless

adjective

pow·​er·​less ˈpau̇(-ə)r-ləs How to pronounce powerless (audio)
1
: devoid of strength or resources
powerless victims
2
: lacking the authority or capacity to act
was powerless to help
powerlessly adverb
powerlessness noun

Examples of powerless in a Sentence

I wish I could help you, but I am powerless in this situation.
Recent Examples on the Web At the home of cricket, Pat Cummins was almost powerless to contain Duckett and Pope, sending numerous fielders out as boundary riders to prevent the constant stream of runs. Tim Ellis, Forbes, 18 Feb. 2024 Royals are private citizens but also, in a sense, part of the public trust given that they are subsidized by British taxpayers and play an important — though largely powerless — constitutional role. Laurie Kellman, Twin Cities, 7 Feb. 2024 But after the loving greeting, Tully is soon consumed by his paranoia, and Angus is powerless to stop him. Lisa Rosen, Los Angeles Times, 6 Feb. 2024 And the depiction of women in this opera — powerless, unsophisticated and easily duped — is out of step with today’s times. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, 28 Jan. 2024 Without any reliable access to the sun’s energy, SLIM is basically powerless—at least for the time being. Andrew Paul, Popular Science, 25 Jan. 2024 Like many, Lipa feels powerless in the face of the ongoing conflict. Brittany Spanos, Rolling Stone, 16 Jan. 2024 When this year’s low-budget horror romp Mickey’s Mouse Trap debuts, featuring a ghoulish killer in the form of the beloved children’s character, Disney CEO Bob Iger will be powerless to stop it. Christiaan Hetzner, Fortune, 4 Jan. 2024 But a powerless display sitting idly in a room does not rise to such a level. Matthew Malec, National Review, 27 Dec. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'powerless.' 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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of powerless was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near powerless

Cite this Entry

“Powerless.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/powerless. Accessed 25 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

powerless

adjective
pow·​er·​less ˈpau̇(-ə)r-ləs How to pronounce powerless (audio)
1
: lacking power, force, or energy
2
: lacking authority to act
powerlessly adverb
powerlessness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on powerless

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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