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1. Lacking strength or power; helpless and totally ineffectual.
2. Lacking legal or other authority.

pow′er·less·ly adv.
pow′er·less·ness n.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adv.1.powerlessly - in a powerless manner


[ˈpaʊəlɪslɪ] advcon impotenza
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References in periodicals archive ?
The sight of a lonely man, with no-one around him to help, powerlessly watching on as the world spins in front of him.
If this does not happen, Lebanon will find itself in the position of some developing countries more than 40 years ago: as a sleeping partner and tax collector and inspector looking on powerlessly at what foreign companies are doing in their country.
But the flooding disabled all forms of electricity such that all these pumps literally stood by powerlessly.
Jerry could only look on powerlessly as his close friend Layne Staley, the group's singer but also its heart, soul and vision, sank into the drug addiction which eventually took his life in 2002.
National officials will be too, believe local party figures who have put in the hard miles as councillors, and now fear powerlessly watching overhead as a national party favourite parachutes onto a shortlist.
Suddenly outnumbered, Friedrich had to watch powerlessly as the family business was turned into a limited company in 1934.
It is this murky, oceanic catastrophe - one blackly mirrored by the alarming recent disappearance of lobsters south of Cape Cod - that has biologists frustrated and willing to powerlessly admit defeat.
Put still another way, the measure of the cultural politics of the humanities is the defining essence of the university position today as what might be named a pitiful baroque institution; the university is the allegorical inscription of that driven process in which modern humans live powerlessly, worshipping at the altar of knowledge in the wake of a tragically alienated culture: "The baroque knows no eschatology," Walter Benjamin writes (The Origin 66); and "open letters" based lightly on Kafka's "A Report to an Academy" mirror the historicism of the anti-historical-the spectacle of the contemporary catastrophe.
Anthony Gerrard watches on powerlessly as his spot kick goes wide of Pepe Reina's goalpost at Wembley on Sunday
In the meantime, let us - the Arabs - count our tragedies after our setbacks, as we powerlessly witness the predicament of a population that courageously insists every day to topple the illusion of a dialogue whose purpose expired months ago.
For many years now, and for good reason, Western portraits of modern Burma have revolved around that archetypal narrative of good versus evil--Aung San Suu Kyi as the powerlessly trapped heroine and Than Swe, former commander in chief of "Myanmar," the face of a villainous junta.
This may prevent the embarrassing scenes we witnessed on TV with large numbers of police officers powerlessly watching the burning and looting while presumably awaiting instructions from some ineffectual senior officer miles away.