Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The quality or condition of being impotent.
  • n. See erectile dysfunction.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Powerlessness.
  • n. Inability to copulate or beget children; sterility, erectile dysfunction, etc.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The quality or condition of being impotent; lack of strength or power, animal, intellectual, or moral; weakness; feebleness; inability; imbecility.
  • n. Lack of self-restraint or self-control.
  • n. Lack of procreative power; inability to copulate, or beget children; also, sometimes, sterility; barrenness

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The condition or quality of being impotent; want of power or vigor, physical, intellectual, or moral; weakness; feebleness; inability; defect of power, more especially adventitious power, to perform anything.
  • n. Complete failure of sexual power in the male; also, rarely, such weakness in the female.
  • n. Want of self-restraining power; ungovernable passion.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the quality of lacking strength or power; being weak and feeble
  • n. an inability (usually of the male animal) to copulate

Etymologies

Latin impotentia inability, poverty, want of moderation. See impotent. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • A few months ago, I was ordered by some sort of cyber-tracker to remove a post upon penalty of site shutdown because it contained the word "impotence," for Pete's sake.

    The Full Feed from HuffingtonPost.com

  • His insurmountable sense of inferiority and long-term impotence made Catherine's one essential task—giving birth to an heir, solidifying the Romanov line through Elizabeth—an impossibility.

    The Rise Of an Empress

  • Everyone knows the only sure remedy for male impotence is the dried, powdered brains of a traditional Chinese herbalist. (don't tell anyone though!)

    Three Ways to Drive an Animal to Extinction - Boing Boing

  • One's sense of impotence is certainly hammered home as one stands by ... not so much impotence with the medical staff, they can be at least chewed out when they're screwing around (living with a doctor has left me with no fear of this), but impotence in the face of what can befall us.

    Another Day at MDA

  • The UN was set up to be such a guide, but its impotence is its shame.

    Think Progress » The task of winning hearts and minds

  • The commonest cause of impotence is aging, which may or may not imply underlying atherosclerosis.

    Fancy a State Sponsored S'**g? Suits You Sir

  • I guess Josh doesn't understand the history of the word impotence, because if he did, he'd know that it's a word with which any man would be proud to be associated.

    Archive 2004-06-27

  • If you have a blog or website, or if you post comments at places that are scanned by google, I urge you to link to the Deputy Leader's webpage using the word impotence I'm going to put impotence in the "Patriots" section of my blogroll.

    Archive 2004-06-27

  • As she said the word impotence she threw the bloody cockerel up into the air.

    The Pillars of the Earth

  • The humiliation of our impotence is made even more clear by Mr. Amery when he alludes to "the less critical case of India."

    A Weak Link in the Imperial Chain

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