powerless

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English pouerles, powerles, equivalent to power +‎ -less.

Pronunciation[edit]

Adjective[edit]

powerless (comparative more powerless, superlative most powerless)

  1. Lacking sufficient power or strength.
    I admit that I am powerless over my hatred towards white people in ways that I am unable to recognize fully, both at this time and in the past.
    • 1899 Feb, Joseph Conrad, “The Heart of Darkness”, in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, page 196:
      “Imagine the growing regrets, the longing to escape, the powerless disgust, the surrender, the hate.”
    • 1914, James Joyce, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man:
      It is said that his right arm had grown powerless from having been raised so often over the heads of those whom he baptized.
  2. Lacking legal authority.
    The traffic warden was powerless to stop me driving away.

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