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.
2(Of a man) abnormally unable to achieve a sexual erection.
- 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.
- 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.
Late Middle English: via Old French from Latin impotent- 'powerless', from in- 'not' + potent- (see potent1).
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