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[dih-bil-i-teyt] /dɪˈbɪl ɪˌteɪt/
verb (used with object), debilitated, debilitating.
to make weak or feeble; enfeeble:
The siege of pneumonia debilitated her completely.
Origin of debilitate
1525-35; < Latin dēbilitātus (past participle of dēbilitāre), equivalent to dēbilit-, stem of dēbilis weak + -ātus -ate1
Related forms
debilitant, noun
debilitation, noun
debilitative, adjective
nondebilitating, adjective
nondebilitation, noun
nondebilitative, adjective
overdebilitate, verb (used with object), overdebilitated, overdebilitating.
undebilitated, adjective
undebilitating, adjective
undebilitative, adjective
weaken, deplete, enervate, devitalize. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for debilitate
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I will not debilitate the cook; I will not exhaust the fowl-yard.

    No Defense, Complete Gilbert Parker
  • He was one of those whom books cannot debilitate, nor a life of study incapacitate for the study of life.

    On the Sublime Longinus
  • Taking hot food or drink, habitually, tends to debilitate all the organs thus needlessly excited.

    A Treatise on Domestic Economy

    Catherine Esther Beecher
  • Many suppose that a warm bath exposes a person more readily to take cold; and that it tends to debilitate the system.

    A Treatise on Domestic Economy

    Catherine Esther Beecher
  • This is to prevent the free escape of water, which might debilitate the starch-making cells.

    Trees Worth Knowing Julia Ellen Rogers
  • Indulgence, however, should not be too frequent, lest it debilitate the pair and undermine their health.

    Plain Talks on Avoided Subjects Henry Newell Guernsey
  • Not even the heaviest thunder showers seem to debilitate their kinetic ardour.

    The Journal of a Disappointed Man Wilhelm Nero Pilate Barbellion
  • Of course that kind o' work tends to debilitate the best kind o' money.

    Sonnie-Boy's People James B. Connolly
  • Even tea and coffee, the common beverages of all classes of people, have a tendency to debilitate the digestive organs….

    Smoking and Drinking James Parton
British Dictionary definitions for debilitate


(transitive) to make feeble; weaken
Derived Forms
debilitation, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin dēbilitāre, from dēbilis weak
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for debilitate

1530s, from Latin debilitatus, past participle of debilitare "to weaken," from debilis "weak" (see debility). Related: Debilitated; debilitating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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