Word of the Day : December 28, 2017

debilitate

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verb dih-BIL-uh-tayt

Definition

: to impair the strength of : enfeeble

Did You Know?

Debilitate, enfeeble, undermine, and sap all share the general sense "to weaken." But while debilitate holds the distinction among these words of coming from the Latin word for "weak"—debilis—it packs a potent punch. Often used of disease or something that strikes like a disease or illness, debilitate might suggest a temporary impairment—but a pervasive one at that. Enfeeble, a very close synonym of debilitate, connotes a pitiable, but often reversible, condition of weakness and helplessness. Undermine and sap suggest a weakening by something working surreptitiously and insidiously.


Examples

The company offers exercises and writing prompts that promise to help would-be novelists debilitated by writer's block get words onto the page.

"No matter how much Dolly tries to engineer things in her favor, she's forever an outsider—a widow suffering from, though not debilitated by, loneliness—and the only person who would understand how she feels is her dead husband, Ephraim." — Hilton Als, The New Yorker, 1 May 2017



Name That Antonym

Unscramble the letters to create an antonym of debilitate: TOFRYFI.

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