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[in-kuh-pas-i-tee] /ˌɪn kəˈpæs ɪ ti/
lack of ability, qualification, or strength; incapability.
Law. lack of the legal power to act in a specified way or ways.
Origin of incapacity
1605-15; < Late Latin incapācitās. See in-3, capacity Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for incapacity
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Nor is this incapacity confined to those versed in book knowledge.

    In the School-Room John S. Hart
  • This lack of perception, this incapacity for enjoyment of the beautiful, is vulgarity.

    Practical Ethics William DeWitt Hyde
  • The incapacity of the mother is no greater than the ignorance of the father in the mass of such unions.

    The Children of the Poor Jacob A. Riis
  • But as for incapacity, I do not feel that; and I shall not say what I do not feel.

    In Convent Walls Emily Sarah Holt
  • His habit of destroying his own works, however, had nothing to do with any sense of failure or incapacity.

    Since Czanne Clive Bell
  • His appointments to office were marked by favoritism and incapacity.

    The New Nation Frederic L. Paxson
  • I have tried about one dozen bookkeepers and had to give them all up, either for dishonesty or incapacity.

  • But his incapacity to understand it is mixed with a certain awe.

British Dictionary definitions for incapacity


noun (pl) -ties
lack of power, strength, or capacity; inability
  1. legal disqualification or ineligibility
  2. a circumstance causing this
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 incapacity

1610s, from French incapacité (16c.), from Medieval Latin incapacitatem (nominative incapacitas), from Late Latin incapax (genitive incapacis) "incapable," from in- "not" (see in- (1)) + Latin capax "capable," literally "able to hold much," from capere "to take" (see capable). Often used 17c. as a legal term referring to inability to take, receive, or deal with in some way.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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