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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 debilitating
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The wearing of heavy underclothing under such conditions is debilitating to the skin and impairs the resisting power.

    How to Live Irving Fisher and Eugene Fisk
  • The South has not yet recovered from the debilitating influence of his books.

    Life On The Mississippi, Complete Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
  • In a similar way privateering always had a debilitating effect upon our own regular force.

    Some Principles of Maritime Strategy Julian Stafford Corbett
  • She was wild-eyed, and she shuddered when the express made its debilitating drop.

  • And you mustn't talk like your own characters; you've no idea how debilitating that is.

    The Education of Eric Lane Stephen McKenna
British Dictionary definitions for debilitating


tending to weaken or enfeeble


(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 debilitating



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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debilitating in Medicine

debilitating de·bil·i·tat·ing (dĭ-bĭl'ĭ-tā'tĭng)
Causing a loss of strength or energy.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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