[ im-puh-tuh ns ]
/ ˈɪm pə təns /


the condition or quality of being impotent; weakness.
chronic inability to attain or sustain an erection for the performance of a sexual act.
sterility, especially in the male.
Obsolete. lack of self-restraint.

Nearby words

  1. impostor,
  2. impostor syndrome,
  3. impostume,
  4. imposture,
  5. imposure,
  6. impotent,
  7. impound,
  8. impoundment,
  9. impoverish,
  10. impoverished

Also im·po·ten·cy, im·po·tent·ness.

Origin of impotence

1375–1425; late Middle English, variant (see -ence) of impotencie < Latin impotentia want of self-control, weakness. See im-2, potency

Can be confusedimpetus impotence sterilityimportance impotence (see synonym study at importance)impotence sterility sterilized Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for impotence

Word Origin and History for impotence



early 15c., "physical weakness," also "poverty," from Middle French impotence "weakness," from Latin impotentia "lack of control or power," from impotentem (nominative impotens); see impotent. In reference to a want of (male) sexual potency, from c.1500. The figurative senses of the word in Latin were "violence, fury, unbridled passion." Related: Impotency.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for impotence


[ ĭmpə-təns ]


The quality or condition of being impotent.
erectile dysfunction

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.