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[in-kuh-pas-i-tee] /ˌɪn kəˈpæs ɪ ti/
lack of ability, qualification, or strength; incapability.
Law. lack of the legal power to act in a specified way or ways.
Origin of incapacity
From the Late Latin word incapācitās, dating back to 1605-15. See in-3, capacity Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for incapacity
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Perhaps Anna's incapacity, which had always annoyed her, had been physical.

    K Mary Roberts Rinehart
  • A method of distinction so cheap that fools employ it to accentuate their incapacity.

    The Devil's Dictionary Ambrose Bierce
  • A man of defeats and of incapacity to be thus worshipped as a hero!

  • It is incapacity to imagine, still less to shape, the yet unknown.

    The New Society Walther Rathenau
  • This has been an irremediable evil, as well as my incapacity to draw.

  • This lack of perception, this incapacity for enjoyment of the beautiful, is vulgarity.

    Practical Ethics William DeWitt Hyde
  • His appointments to office were marked by favoritism and incapacity.

    The New Nation Frederic L. Paxson
  • But as for incapacity, I do not feel that; and I shall not say what I do not feel.

    In Convent Walls Emily Sarah Holt
British Dictionary definitions for incapacity


noun (pl) -ties
lack of power, strength, or capacity; inability
  1. legal disqualification or ineligibility
  2. a circumstance causing this
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 incapacity

1610s, from French incapacité (16c.), from Medieval Latin incapacitatem (nominative incapacitas), from Late Latin incapax (genitive incapacis) "incapable," from in- "not" (see in- (1)) + Latin capax "capable," literally "able to hold much," from capere "to take" (see capable). Often used 17c. as a legal term referring to inability to take, receive, or deal with in some way.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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