Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

powerless

[pou-er-lis]
See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
adjective
  1. unable to produce an effect: a disease against which modern medicine is virtually powerless.
  2. lacking power to act; helpless: His legs crumpled, and he was powerless to rise.
Show More

Origin of powerless

First recorded in 1545–55; power + -less
Related formspow·er·less·ly, adverbpow·er·less·ness, noun

Synonyms

See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
1. ineffective. 2. feeble, impotent, prostrate, infirm.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for powerlessness

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • It was heart-breaking to her to realise her powerlessness, when he could so easily empty his purse.

    The Dream

    Emile Zola

  • All other goodness is but too often an idleness or powerlessness of will.

    Reflections

    Francois Duc De La Rochefoucauld

  • But the colonel's despondent look expressed his powerlessness.

    The Downfall

    Emile Zola

  • "We've been, sir," said the Archdeacon, and then followed an explanation of the Bishop's powerlessness.

    The Christian

    Hall Caine

  • I never felt my powerlessness so much as I have since you come.

    Janet of the Dunes

    Harriet T. Comstock


British Dictionary definitions for powerlessness

powerless

adjective
  1. without power or authority
Show More
Derived Formspowerlessly, adverbpowerlessness, 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

Word Origin and History for powerlessness

powerless

adj.

early 15c., "lacking might or fortitude," from power (n.) + -less. Related: Powerlessly; powerlessness.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper