[ im-puh-tuhnt ]
/ ˈɪm pə tənt /



an impotent person: therapy for sexual impotents.

Nearby words

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

Origin of impotent

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin impotent- (stem of impotēns) without power over oneself or others. See im-2, potent1

Related formsim·po·tent·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for impotent

British Dictionary definitions for impotent


/ (ˈɪmpətənt) /


(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
Derived Formsimpotence, impotency or impotentness, nounimpotently, adverb

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 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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for impotent


[ ĭmpə-tənt ]


Incapable of sexual intercourse, often because of an inability to achieve or sustain an erection.
Sterile. Used of males.

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