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[im-paird] /ɪmˈpɛərd/
weakened, diminished, or damaged:
impaired hearing; to rebuild an impaired bridge.
functioning poorly or inadequately:
Consumption of alcohol results in an impaired driver.
deficient or incompetent (usually preceded by an adverb or noun):
morally impaired; sports-impaired.
Origin of impaired
impair + -ed2
Related forms
unimpaired, adjective


[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.
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. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for impaired
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Each time I have deleted something, which, while it has refined, I trust has not impaired the strength of the tale.

    Sir Henry Morgan, Buccaneer Cyrus Townsend Brady
  • Lydia's perfectly concrete faith was not impaired in the least.

    The Prisoner Alice Brown
  • At middle life and after, underweight, unless extreme or accompanied by evidence of impaired health, should not give any concern.

    How to Live Irving Fisher and Eugene Fisk
  • So his judgment is impaired and the moral dignity of his soul debased.

  • A few result from boggy places which result from impaired drainage caused by landslips or fallen trees.

British Dictionary definitions for impaired


(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
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Word Origin and History for impaired



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
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