impair

verb
im·​pair | \ im-ˈper How to pronounce impair (audio) \
impaired; impairing; impairs

Definition of impair

transitive verb

: to diminish in function, ability, or quality : to weaken or make worse It has been known for nearly 100 years that memory is impaired by bilateral damage to either of two brain regions …— Larry R. Squire The use of drugs further complicates the situation of these families and sometimes impairs their ability to raise children.— Ellen L. Bassuk … the prospect of generating normal profitability is impaired by excessive debt service.— John Nozell The physician also checks for signs of endometriosis, a condition in which the cells that normally compose the uterine lining grow outside the uterus, sometimes impairing fertility.— Martha Southgate

Other Words from impair

impairer noun
… the overwhelming majority of hookups involved alcohol use—an impairer of sexual judgment if ever there was one … — Tiffany Sharples

Choose the Right Synonym for impair

injure, harm, hurt, damage, impair, mar mean to affect injuriously. injure implies the inflicting of anything detrimental to one's looks, comfort, health, or success. badly injured in an accident harm often stresses the inflicting of pain, suffering, or loss. careful not to harm the animals hurt implies inflicting a wound to the body or to the feelings. hurt by their callous remarks damage suggests injury that lowers value or impairs usefulness. a table damaged in shipping impair suggests a making less complete or efficient by deterioration or diminution. years of smoking had impaired his health mar applies to injury that spoils perfection (as of a surface) or causes disfigurement. the text is marred by many typos

Examples of impair in a Sentence

Smoking can impair your health. Drinking impairs a person's ability to think clearly. His memory was so impaired by age that he often forgot where he was.
Recent Examples on the Web Moisture and extreme temperatures can also impair its accuracy, Wu says. Jamie Ducharme, Time, 22 Apr. 2022 The tussle over Russia’s continued participation is likely to consume political capital and seriously impair the grouping’s ability to deliver for the next two years. Vasuki Shastry, Forbes, 17 Apr. 2022 The disorder can impair a person’s ability to speak, pronounce words or think of the right word, said Dr. Adam Boxer, a neurology professor at the University of California, San Francisco. Joseph Pisani, WSJ, 30 Mar. 2022 Since being taken by Russian forces, Chernobyl has lost electrical power multiple times, which Ukrenergo, Ukraine’s electrical grid operator, has said could impair the plant’s safety and containment protocols. Tristan Bove, Fortune, 29 Mar. 2022 Sanctions aim to impair the ability of the person or entity from being able to perform basic functions in the international financial system. Nadine El-bawab, ABC News, 23 Feb. 2022 One theory is that COVID-19 drives inflammation that may impair insulin secretion and sensitivity. Mary Kekatos, ABC News, 22 Mar. 2022 Stephanie Ann Kyle, 38, suffers from a cognitive condition that may impair her judgment, police said. Howard Koplowitz | Hkoplowitz@al.com, al, 16 Mar. 2022 That includes patients with illnesses that impair the immune system as well as patients who have received drugs that affect their immune system — for example, chemotherapy, medications for organ transplants, and even steroids, Imlay said. Erin Alberty, The Salt Lake Tribune, 17 Feb. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of impair

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for impair

Middle English empeiren, from Anglo-French empeirer, from Vulgar Latin *impejorare, from Latin in- + Late Latin pejorare to make worse — more at pejorative

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Time Traveler for impair

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

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Dictionary Entries Near impair

impaint

impair

impairable

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Statistics for impair

Last Updated

9 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Impair.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/impair. Accessed 18 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for impair

impair

verb
im·​pair | \ im-ˈper How to pronounce impair (audio) \
impaired; impairing

Kids Definition of impair

: to lessen in function, ability, or quality : weaken or make worse Smoking can impair health.

impair

transitive verb
im·​pair | \ im-ˈpa(ə)r, -ˈpe(ə)r How to pronounce impair (audio) \

Medical Definition of impair

: to diminish in function, ability, or quality : to weaken or make worse It has been known for nearly 100 years that memory is impaired by bilateral damage to either of two brain regions …— Larry R. Squire The physician also checks for signs of endometriosis, a condition in which the cells that normally compose the uterine lining grow outside the uterus, sometimes impairing fertility.— Martha Southgate

Other Words from impair

impairment \ -​ˈpa(ə)r-​mənt How to pronounce impair (audio) \ noun

impair

transitive verb
im·​pair | \ im-ˈper How to pronounce impair (audio) \

Legal Definition of impair

1 : to damage or make worse by or as if by diminishing impaired health
2 : to diminish the value of (property or property rights) specifically : to diminish the value of (legal contractual obligations) to the point that a party loses the benefit of the contract or the contract otherwise becomes invalid a law impairing a state's own obligations was entitled to less deference — Gerald Gunther — see also contract clause

Other Words from impair

impairment noun

More from Merriam-Webster on impair

Nglish: Translation of impair for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of impair for Arabic Speakers

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