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[dih-bil-i-teyt] /dɪˈbɪl ɪˌteɪt/
verb (used with object), debilitated, debilitating.
to make weak or feeble; enfeeble:
The siege of pneumonia debilitated her completely.
Origin of debilitate
1525-35; < Latin dēbilitātus (past participle of dēbilitāre), equivalent to dēbilit-, stem of dēbilis weak + -ātus -ate1
Related forms
debilitant, noun
debilitation, noun
debilitative, adjective
nondebilitating, adjective
nondebilitation, noun
nondebilitative, adjective
overdebilitate, verb (used with object), overdebilitated, overdebilitating.
undebilitated, adjective
undebilitating, adjective
undebilitative, adjective
weaken, deplete, enervate, devitalize. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for debilitate
  • As the various authors point out, such an approach tends to debilitate the faculty during moments of financial crisis.
  • The police sought to completely debilitate the celebration.
  • Diabetes can rapidly debilitate a breadwinner and impose impotency, either outcome a solid marriage wrecker.
  • There are also those who argue that cellphones ultimately empower rather than debilitate.
  • But it is only in the past year that the disease has begun to debilitate him.
  • In addition, strokes debilitate hundreds of people each day.
  • The side effects will debilitate you, but we'll add in some physical therapy when it would be helpful.
  • Use extreme caution as wind carrying the spray your direction can debilitate you instead of the bear.
British Dictionary definitions for debilitate


(transitive) to make feeble; weaken
Derived Forms
debilitation, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin dēbilitāre, from dēbilis weak
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
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Word Origin and History for debilitate

1530s, from Latin debilitatus, past participle of debilitare "to weaken," from debilis "weak" (see debility). Related: Debilitated; debilitating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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