[ in-kuh-pas-i-tee ]
/ ˌɪn kəˈpæs ɪ ti /


lack of ability, qualification, or strength; incapability.
Law. lack of the legal power to act in a specified way or ways.

Nearby words

  1. incantatory,
  2. incapable,
  3. incapacitant,
  4. incapacitate,
  5. incapacitated,
  6. incapacity benefit,
  7. incaparina,
  8. incapsulate,
  9. incarcerate,
  10. incarcerated

Origin of incapacity

From the Late Latin word incapācitās, dating back to 1605–15. See in-3, capacity Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for incapacity

British Dictionary definitions for incapacity


/ (ˌɪnkəˈpæsɪtɪ) /

noun plural -ties

lack of power, strength, or capacity; inability
  1. legal disqualification or ineligibility
  2. a circumstance causing this
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 incapacity



1610s, from French incapacité (16c.), from Medieval Latin incapacitatem (nominative incapacitas), from Late Latin incapax (genitive incapacis) "incapable," from in- "not" (see in- (1)) + Latin capax "capable," literally "able to hold much," from capere "to take" (see capable). Often used 17c. as a legal term referring to inability to take, receive, or deal with in some way.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper