"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults


[im-pair] /ɪmˈpɛər/
verb (used with object)
to make or cause to become worse; diminish in ability, value, excellence, etc.; weaken or damage:
to impair one's health; to impair negotiations.
verb (used without object)
to grow or become worse; lessen.
Archaic. impairment.
Origin of impair
1250-1300; Middle English empairen, empeiren to make worse < Middle French empeirer, equivalent to em- im-1 + peirer to make worse < Late Latin pējōrāre, equivalent to Latin pējōr-, stem of pējor worse + -ā- thematic vowel + -re infinitive suffix; cf. pejorative
Related forms
impairable, adjective
impairer, noun
impairment, noun
nonimpairment, noun
preimpairment, noun
self-impairable, adjective
self-impairing, adjective
unimpairable, adjective
1. See injure.
1. repair.


[an-per] /ɛ̃ˈpɛr/
adjective, French.
noting any odd number, especially in roulette.
Compare pair. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for impair
  • Foot problems can also impair balance and function in this age group.
  • Alcohol, marijuana, and cocaine impair decision-making skills.
  • But this cannot impair respect for his broader judgment: historians will always be arguing.
  • Low levels can impair physical and mental development.
  • Interestingly, such a disruption does not impair memory for facts and events that have already been consolidated.
  • There was no evidence that he had suffered any medical or environmental insults that would impair his immunity.
  • In humans, this could explain why sleep deprivation can impair judgment.
  • Most people would want to edit memories that impair them.
  • Low oxygen levels also can impair mental function and short-term memory.
  • Unfortunately, that energy must be imported at great expense or produced locally, which can impair an area's desirability.
British Dictionary definitions for impair


(transitive) to reduce or weaken in strength, quality, etc: his hearing was impaired by an accident
Derived Forms
impairable, adjective
impairer, noun
impairment, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French empeirer to make worse, from Late Latin pējorāre, from Latin pejor worse; see pejorative
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for impair

late 14c., earlier ampayre, apeyre (c.1300), from Old French empeirier (Modern French empirer), from Vulgar Latin *impeiorare "make worse," from assimilated form of in- "into, in" (see in- (2)) + Late Latin peiorare "make worse" (see pejorative). In reference to driving under the influence of alcohol, first recorded 1951 in Canadian English. Related: Impaired; impairing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for impair

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for impair

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with impair

Nearby words for impair