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8 Words That Are Older Than You Think

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
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. 2014.
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Examples from the web for powerless
  • The powerless twin was unable to reach a nearby airport and made a forced landing in the backyard of a private residence.
  • Flying bullets and shrapnel rendered firefighters powerless.
  • The government, with its meager resources, is virtually powerless to stop the looting.
  • It's the best real estate possible-waterfront, protected from hurricanes, and powerless air-conditioning.
  • When people are powerless, they are easily manipulated.
  • On that windswept mountain it occurs to me that humans are not so powerless after all.
  • Two years ago it left hundreds of thousands of homes in my state powerless.
  • Participants were asked to write about a time they either felt powerful or powerless.
  • But without oxygen, their energy is depleted and they are powerless to remove it.
  • But as many of them noted in televised interviews, what made matters far worse was feeling powerless.
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
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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
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14
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