follow Dictionary.com

Denotation vs. Connotation

powerless

[pou-er-lis] /ˈpaʊ ər lɪs/
adjective
1.
unable to produce an effect:
a disease against which modern medicine is virtually powerless.
2.
lacking power to act; helpless:
His legs crumpled, and he was powerless to rise.
Origin of powerless
1545-1555
1545-55; power + -less
Related forms
powerlessly, adverb
powerlessness, noun
Synonyms
1. ineffective. 2. feeble, impotent, prostrate, infirm.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for powerless
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Locomotion becomes feeble and tottering, the voice harsh, the intellect obtuse and powerless, and all the senses blunted.

    Select Temperance Tracts American Tract Society
  • With all his powers of intellect, he was powerless, because he had no faith in virtue.

    Self-Help Samuel Smiles
  • The captains all got a wigging for failing to keep us in hand; but they were powerless.

  • Within the circle of their light the poison of serpents and worms is powerless.

  • Stunned, powerless, like a straw on the face of a torrent, he was swept onward he knew not whither.

British Dictionary definitions for powerless

powerless

/ˈpaʊəlɪs/
adjective
1.
without power or authority
Derived Forms
powerlessly, adverb
powerlessness, noun
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 powerless
adj.

early 15c., "lacking might or fortitude," from power (n.) + -less. Related: Powerlessly; powerlessness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for powerless

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for powerless

14
16
Scrabble Words With Friends