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1. Lacking physical strength or vigor; weak.
2. Lacking in power, as to act effectively; helpless: "Technology without morality is barbarous; morality without technology is impotent" (Freeman J. Dyson).
3. Incapable of sexual intercourse because of an inability to achieve or sustain an erection.
4. Obsolete Lacking self-restraint.

[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin impotēns, impotent- : in-, not; see in-1 + potēns, potent; see potent.]

im′po·tent·ly adv.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adv.1.impotently - in a helpless mannerimpotently - in a helpless manner; "the crowd watched him helplessly"
References in classic literature ?
The severest pointed harpoon, the sharpest lance darted by the strongest human arm, impotently rebounds from it.
Yet mark his perfect self-contentment, and hence learn this lesson, that to be self-contented is to be vile and ignorant, and that to aspire is better than to be blindly and impotently happy.
About eleven o'clock they were passing over the basin of Imenge, and the tribes scattered over the adjacent hills were impotently menacing the Victoria with their weapons.
The infuriated beast, pulled up and backwards until he stood upon his hind legs, struggled impotently in this unnatural position.
The other boys were flying around him now, flouting, scornful; and he staggered about the deck striking up at them impotently, his mind was no longer with them; it was slouching in the playing fields of long ago, or being sent up [to the headmaster] for good, or watching the wall-game from a famous wall.
Then Lerumie took to the main rigging, leaving Jerry impotently to rage on the deck beneath him.
She dealt the luckless Sara a glance that would have slain her on the spot could glances kill, stumbled lamely and impotently through the few remaining lines of her recitation, and fled with crimson cheeks to hide her mortification in the little corner that had been curtained off for a dressing-room.
It had lasted only seconds, Bert was dancing on the edge of the slippery slope and mocking the vanquished who had slid impotently to the bottom.
So creditor countries, led by Germany, have sought to do the minimum necessary to keep the euro alive, while debtors have grumbled impotently about Germany's insistence on fiscal austerity.
In 2006 I remember bellowing impotently at the radio as Gordon Brown fluffed his opportunity to put a fresh-faced David Cameron to the sword.
Frequently, Joseph's carpentry tools serve as sad phallic props: as Louise Vasvari points out, the Merode Altarpiece shows Joseph impotently screwing holes in a plank of wood, unaware that in the very next room/panel, the Holy Ghost is impregnating his wife.
As blame is traded back and forth between countries, the UN looks on impotently as atrocities continue.