not capable.
not having the necessary ability, qualification, or strength to perform some specified act or function: As an administrator, he is simply incapable.
without ordinary capability; incompetent.


a thoroughly incompetent person, especially one of defective mentality.


    incapable of,
    1. not having the ability, qualification, or strength for (a specified act or function).
    2. not open to; not susceptible to or admitting: These materials are incapable of exact measurement.
    3. legally unqualified for.

Origin of incapable

From the Late Latin word incapābilis, dating back to 1585–95. See in-3, capable
Related formsin·ca·pa·bil·i·ty, in·ca·pa·ble·ness, nounin·ca·pa·bly, adverb

Synonyms for incapable

1. Incapable, incompetent, inefficient, unable are applied to a person or thing that is lacking in ability, preparation, or power for whatever is to be done. Incapable usually means inherently lacking in ability or power: incapable of appreciating music; a bridge incapable of carrying heavy loads. Incompetent, generally used only of persons, means unfit or unqualified for a particular task: incompetent as an administrator. Inefficient means wasteful in the use of effort or power: an inefficient manager; inefficient methods. Unable usually refers to a temporary condition of inability to do some specific thing: unable to relax, to go to a concert. 2. impotent, unqualified.

Antonyms for incapable

1. able. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for incapability

Historical Examples of incapability

  • The income devolved on me in consequence of Winslowe's incapability.

    The Crooked House

    Brandon Fleming

  • In his pale, pimpled face were traces of incapability and bad humour.

    The Goose Man

    Jacob Wassermann

  • The belief in his incapability of defeat, that was lost too!

  • This, as I understand it, simply means an incapability of acting the hypocrite.

    Born Again

    Alfred Lawson

  • Let those who think so reflect on the state of nations under poverty, and their incapability of art.

    William Blake

    Irene Langridge

British Dictionary definitions for incapability



(when postpositive, often foll by of) not capable (of); lacking the ability (to)
powerless or helpless, as through injury or intoxication
(postpositive foll by of) not susceptible (to); not admitting (of)a problem incapable of solution
Derived Formsincapability or incapableness, nounincapably, 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 incapability



1590s, from Middle French incapable and directly from Medieval Latin incapabilis, from in- "not" (see in- (1)) + capabilis (see capable). Related: Incapably; incapability.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper