pow·​er·​less | \ ˈpau̇(-ə)r-ləs How to pronounce powerless (audio) \

Definition of powerless

1 : devoid of strength or resources powerless victims
2 : lacking the authority or capacity to act was powerless to help

Other Words from powerless

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 The Fed appears largely powerless to stop runaway inflation, which is being driven up further by the soaring prices of food and fuel brought on by Russia's War on Ukraine. Sophie Mellor, Fortune, 16 June 2022 And, of course, Olympic telecast producers proved powerless before its romantic determinism. Brad Shoup, Billboard, 23 May 2022 Tens of thousands of homes were left without power across the Northeast, with more than 42,000 customers left powerless in Rhode Island alone. Rachel Ramirez, CNN, 2 Oct. 2021 The upshot: The country faces a government shutdown on Friday and unprecedented default on federal debts in October, and Biden seems powerless to help. Samuel Goldman, The Week, 29 Sep. 2021 This was about the inner conflict of having more power and control while at the same time having the fear of being powerless and being energetically exploited. Silke Glaab, Forbes, 23 May 2022 What Hyun didn’t realize at the time was his mother, who still struggles with English, felt powerless to say or do anything to shield him from harm. BostonGlobe.com, 5 July 2021 On the same day that Undone returns, Apple TV+ is premiering Shining Girls, a serial killer story with a novel-ish(*) twist: the killer travels in time, and our heroine seems powerless to prevent him from hurting her in any moment of her life. Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone, 26 Apr. 2022 Still, a massive geopolitical conflict has a way of making individuals feel even more powerless. Pcmag Staff, PCMAG, 25 Mar. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of powerless

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

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Dictionary Entries Near powerless

power landing



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Statistics for powerless

Last Updated

28 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Powerless.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/powerless. Accessed 28 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for powerless


pow·​er·​less | \ ˈpau̇-ər-ləs How to pronounce powerless (audio) \

Kids Definition of powerless

: without power, strength, authority, or influence He was powerless to stop them.

More from Merriam-Webster on powerless

Nglish: Translation of powerless for Spanish Speakers


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