- not potent; lacking power or ability.
- utterly unable (to do something).
- without force or effectiveness.
- lacking bodily strength or physically helpless.
- (of a male) unable to attain or sustain a penile erection.
- (especially of a male) sterile.
- Obsolete. without restraint.
- an impotent person: therapy for sexual impotents.
Origin of impotent
SynonymsSee more synonyms for impotent on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for impotent
As the protagonist gets herself off in front of her impotent husband, she moans “Oh, Gronky.”‘A Gronking to Remember’ Speed Read: 8 Naughtiest Bits
January 7, 2015
He was prescribed a course of hormone pills that caused him to grow breasts and rendered him impotent.The Castration of Alan Turing, Britain’s Code-Breaking WWII Hero
November 29, 2014
Of course, what people like Erickson and Sarah Palin want the House to do is impeach Obama, not file an impotent lawsuit.Obama Should Counter John Boehner’s Lawsuit—and Here’s How He Can Do It
July 9, 2014
Chicago is a city imperiled by impotent leadership that is unwilling to face down this crisis.Send the National Guard to Chicago
Roland S. Martin
July 9, 2014
An impotent democracy has left its people feeling powerless.Argentina’s Drag & Drop Democracy
March 12, 2014
He might have served Cibber or Gibbons as a model for a statue of impotent rage.Micah Clarke
Arthur Conan Doyle
Then, in a moment, his weakness was further displayed in an impotent obstinacy.The Law-Breakers
The impotent man answered him, Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool.
When He spoke to the impotent man His word of command had to be obeyed.
About the answer of the impotent man there could be no doubt.
- (when postpositive, often takes an infinitive) lacking sufficient strength; powerless
- (esp of males) unable to perform sexual intercourseSee erectile impotence
- obsolete lacking self-control; unrestrained
Word Origin and History for impotent
late 14c., "physically weak, enfeebled, crippled," from Old French impotent "powerless, weak, incapable," from Latin imponentem (nominative impotens) "lacking control, powerless," from assimilated form of in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + ponentem (nominative potens) "potent" (see potent).
Meaning "having no power to accomplish anything" is from mid-15c.; that of "completely lacking in sexual power" (of males) is from mid-15c. Middle English also had a native term for this: Cunt-beaten (mid-15c.). The figurative sense in Latin was "without self-control, headstrong, violent." Related: Impotently.
- Incapable of sexual intercourse, often because of an inability to achieve or sustain an erection.
- Sterile. Used of males.