• synonyms


[in-kon-tn-uh nt]
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  1. unable to restrain natural discharges or evacuations of urine or feces.
  2. unable to contain or retain (usually followed by of): incontinent of temper.
  3. lacking in moderation or self-control, especially of sexual desire.
  4. unceasing or unrestrained: an incontinent flow of talk.
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Origin of incontinent

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin incontinent- (stem of incontinēns). See in-3, continent (adj.)
Related formsin·con·ti·nence, in·con·ti·nen·cy, noun
Can be confusedincontinent inconsistent (see synonym study at inconsistent)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for incontinency

eroticism, obscenity, vulgarity, lechery, ribaldry, prurience, pornography, wickedness, dirtiness, incontinence, impurity, corruptness, debauchery, carnality, dissoluteness, lustfulness, grossness, depravity, evilness, lasciviousness

Examples from the Web for incontinency

Historical Examples of incontinency

  • Or what can be safe to a man, that geueth himselfe to incontinency?

    The Palace of Pleasure

    William Painter

  • To do so, he got up a charge against her of incontinency with the cook, and put both in confinement.

  • He is defamed of incontinency with Lucia de la Stubbe, a married woman (conjugata).

  • The woman is denominated a sinner, because incontinency was her trade and the means of her subsistence.

  • Whilst I was thus making these laudable dispositions, and whispering to myself a kind of tacit vow of incontinency, enters Mr. H..

British Dictionary definitions for incontinency


  1. lacking in restraint or control, esp sexually
  2. relating to or exhibiting involuntary urination or defecation
  3. (foll by of) having little or no control (over)
  4. unrestrained; uncontrolled
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Derived Formsincontinence or incontinency, nounincontinently, adverb

Word Origin for incontinent

C14: from Old French, from Latin incontinens, from in- 1 + continere to hold, restrain




  1. obsolete words for immediately
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Word Origin for incontinent

C15: from Late Latin in continentī tempore, literally: in continuous time, that is, with no interval
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 incontinency


early 15c., "unchastity;" see incontinent + -cy.

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late 14c., "wanting in self restraint," from Old French incontinent, from Latin incontinentem (nominative incontinens) "incontinent, immoderate, intemperate," from in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + continens (see continent). Originally chiefly of sexual appetites; sense of "unable to control bowels or bladder" first attested 1828.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

incontinency in Medicine


  1. Lacking normal voluntary control of excretory functions.
  2. Lacking sexual restraint; unchaste.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.