Definitions

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

  • transitive v. To weaken or destroy the strength or vitality of: "the luxury which enervates and destroys nations” ( Henry David Thoreau). See Synonyms at deplete.
  • transitive v. Medicine To remove a nerve or part of a nerve.
  • adj. Deprived of strength; debilitated.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To reduce strength or energy; debilitate.
  • v. To weaken morally or mentally.
  • v. To unnerve or faze.
  • v. To partially or completely remove a nerve.
  • adj. Made feeble; weakened.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To deprive of nerve, force, strength, or courage; to render feeble or impotent; to make effeminate; to impair the moral powers of.
  • adj. Weakened; weak; without strength of force.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To deprive of nerve, force, or strength; weaken; render feeble: as, idleness and voluptuous indulgences enervate the body.
  • Figuratively, to deprive of force or applicability; render ineffective; refute.
  • To cut the nerves of: as, to enervate a horse.
  • Synonyms To enfeeble, unnerve, debilitate, paralyze, unstring, relax.
  • Weakened; weak; enervated.

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

  • v. weaken mentally or morally
  • v. disturb the composure of

Etymologies

Latin ēnervāre, ēnervāt- : ē-, ex-, ex- + nervus, sinew; see (s)neəu- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • Ward, so weakened a body already 'enervate' and emaciated, that at first the patient "was thought to be falling into the agonies of death."

    Henry Fielding: a Memoir

  • [1] But within a few days, apparently, of this date treatment employed on the advice of Dr Joshua Ward, so weakened a body already 'enervate' and emaciated, that at first the patient “was thought to be falling into the agonies of death.”

    Henry Fielding A Memoir

  • OT will someone tell Fiona Miller (on Daily Politics now) to look up the word "enervate" and use it correctly in future.

    Guy Fawkes' blog

  • For such entertainments altogether enervate the minds of people, insensibly leading them into effeminacy, and unfitting them to endure those hardships, and fatigues, which must necessarily be undergone, to bring any province to perfection.

    A Renegade History of the United States

  • It was not that the founders wanted to write religion out of the new nation; Kidd insists that they tended to view robust religion as indispensable to a good society, but that there was a widespread current of thought -- among both the preachers and the Patriots -- that involvement with worldly power tended to enervate and corrupt true religion, so they were careful to reserve ministry for the ministers.

    Anil Mundra: 'God Of Liberty': The Role Of Religion In American Independence

  • Presumably, if nothing else, our fear of hell purports to enervate good behavior.

    Menachem Wecker: With Ramadan And Jewish High Holidays Looming, We Should Talk About Hell

  • The Kerry-Lieberman energy bill would enervate America.

    Generation Gap

  • I am not a fan of the time-wastin 'speechifyin', masturbatory roundtablin ', and high-fallutin' blue-ribbon panels that enervate our government.

    Bill Singer: Modern-Day Regulation: The Big Broom After the Circus Parade Passes

  • When Randolph expressed a concern that amendments might “enervate” the Constitution, he mentioned in particular that federal “direct taxation may be too much weakened.”

    Ratification

  • Katie said, “I thought ‘enervate’ meant to weaken.”

    mostly good girls

Comments

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  • The intense sun in India would always leave you enervated after you've spent the day sightseeing.

    May 11, 2013

  • Not to be confused with innervate.

    May 20, 2010

  • enervate \EN-ur-vayt\, transitive verb:
    1. To deprive of vigor, force, or strength; to render feeble; to weaken.
    2. To reduce the moral or mental vigor of.

    August 12, 2008

  • You would think enervate would be to get your nerve up, not down.

    December 17, 2007