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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. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for powerlessness
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The offer to sit by Perez was almost involuntary on her part, merely a sign of her sense of powerlessness against him.

    The Duke of Stockbridge Edward Bellamy
  • "If I could only do anything to help," cried Polly, oppressed with her own powerlessness.

    An Old-fashioned Girl Louisa May Alcott
  • It exists by virtue of habit and indifference, aided by a conviction of its powerlessness.

  • It was heart-breaking to her to realise her powerlessness, when he could so easily empty his purse.

    The Dream Emile Zola
  • The Department, which is disposed to resist, has its hands tied and confesses its powerlessness.

British Dictionary definitions for powerlessness

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 powerlessness

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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