- 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 impotently
All while the international community observed, if not passively, impotently.The Radicals Who Slaughtered a Synagogue
November 19, 2014
The disaster rankled in Edward's mind, ever craving vengeance, impotently.King Robert the Bruce
A. F. Murison
Blake raged at that, impotently, pathetically, like an old lion with its teeth drawn.The Shadow
In that query was the riddle which impotently Verplank was trying to solve.The Monster
This was resented, but impotently, by the various sovereigns.Invention
Bradley A. Fiske
They both sprang to their feet, and glared at him impotently.A Mysterious Disappearance
- (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 impotently
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.