Definition of impotent in English:

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impotent

Pronunciation: /ˈimpətnt/

adjective

1Unable to take effective action; helpless or powerless: he was seized with an impotent anger
More example sentences
  • Yet it happened, and he felt helpless, powerless, and impotent.
  • The end result is that we not only feel frightened - we often feel unable to respond, and feel powerless and impotent as individuals.
  • Thus, they are impotent, powerless to confront the current regime.
Synonyms
powerless, ineffective, ineffectual, inadequate, weak, feeble, useless, worthless, futile
literary impuissant
unable, incapable, powerless, helpless
2(Of a man) abnormally unable to achieve a sexual erection.
Example sentences
  • He is impotent and unable to satisfy his estranged wife.
  • Rumours of his extraordinary sexual powers spread and multiplied, though they were probably nonsense - there seems more evidence, indeed, to suggest that he was sexually impotent.
  • He's not impotent or physically handicapped, he just isn't very interested and says there is more to a relationship than sex.
2.1(Of a male animal) unable to copulate.

Derivatives

impotently

Pronunciation: /ˈimpəd(ə)ntlē/
Pronunciation: /ˈimpətntlē/
adverb
Example sentences
  • ‘We raged impotently, wondering why this has happened to us, asking the usual questions of God and the universe,’ he writes.
  • The state watches impotently as its culture, beamed in from the coasts, becomes coarser and more offensive by the year.
  • In fantasy literature the availability of power is in inverse proportion to the daily lives of a typical teenager, hemmed in by school and family and impotently yearning for autonomy.

Origin

Late Middle English: via Old French from Latin impotent- 'powerless', from in- 'not' + potent- (see potent1).

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: im·po·tent

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