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[in-kuh-pas-i-teyt] /ˌɪn kəˈpæs ɪˌteɪt/
verb (used with object), incapacitated, incapacitating.
to deprive of ability, qualification, or strength; make incapable or unfit; disable.
Law. to deprive of the legal power to act in a specified way or ways.
Origin of incapacitate
First recorded in 1650-60; incapacit(y) + -ate1
Related forms
incapacitation, noun
1. cripple, handicap, sideline. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for incapacitate
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • A few years' knowledge of other countries than our own will not incapacitate me for that part.

  • He should be able to incapacitate two or three and break out.

    Monkey On His Back Charles V. De Vet
  • Why should there be such things as headaches, to incapacitate a man from work?

    The Admiral Douglas Sladen
  • Whether I accompany him is uncertain; he is apprehensive that my health may incapacitate me.

    The Royal Institution Bence Jones
  • Dick found that Warner and Pennington both had wounds, although they were too slight to incapacitate them.

    The Guns of Shiloh Joseph A. Altsheler
  • An indisposition will not dispense him from saying mass on Sunday unless it is sufficiently severe to incapacitate him.

    The Priestly Vocation Bishop Bernard Ward
  • It has been imagined that the plan was to incapacitate him by law for employment, and to hold him a State prisoner.

    Sir Walter Ralegh William Stebbing
  • He neither knew nor cared how serious the injury might be, so long as it did not incapacitate him from serving his machine.

British Dictionary definitions for incapacitate


verb (transitive)
to deprive of power, strength, or capacity; disable
to deprive of legal capacity or eligibility
Derived Forms
incapacitation, noun
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 incapacitate

1650s, from incapacity + -ate. Related: Incapacitated; incapacitating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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