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or impotency, impotentness

[im-puh-tuh ns] /ˈɪm pə təns/
the condition or quality of being impotent; weakness.
chronic inability to attain or sustain an erection for the performance of a sexual act.
sterility, especially in the male.
Obsolete. lack of self-restraint.
Origin of impotence
1375-1425; late Middle English, variant (see -ence) of impotencie < Latin impotentia want of self-control, weakness. See im-2, potency
Can be confused
impetus, impotence, sterility.
importance, impotence (see synonym study at importance)
impotence, sterility, sterilized. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for impotence
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The American passengers appeared one and all to be rejoicing over the impotence of the great ship.

    Christopher and Columbus Countess Elizabeth Von Arnim
  • Madden quivered at his impotence to put his hand on the thief in the crowd.

    The Cruise of the Dry Dock T. S. Stribling
  • It shows the vanity of immoderate pretensions, the power of wisdom and virtue, the impotence of folly and crime.

  • This shows the impotence of any person who tries to prevent such infamies.

    The Sexual Question August Forel
  • Shining like that, through his egotistical pride, the facts of his failure and impotence tormented him.

    Mountain Blood Joseph Hergesheimer
Word Origin and History for impotence

early 15c., "physical weakness," also "poverty," from Middle French impotence "weakness," from Latin impotentia "lack of control or power," from impotentem (nominative impotens); see impotent. In reference to a want of (male) sexual potency, from c.1500. The figurative senses of the word in Latin were "violence, fury, unbridled passion." Related: Impotency.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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impotence in Medicine

impotence im·po·tence (ĭm'pə-təns) or im·po·ten·cy (-tən-sē)
The quality or condition of being impotent.

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