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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.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adv.1.impotently - in a helpless mannerimpotently - in a helpless manner; "the crowd watched him helplessly"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
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.
Then Lerumie took to the main rigging, leaving Jerry impotently to rage on the deck beneath him.
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.
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.
@iainmacwhirter If the Commons doesn't trust the executive to handle the biggest issue of the day, then an election is a more constitutionally appropriate response than the legislature trying to take on the functions of the executive @JGForsyth So Boris Johnson may have become Prime Minister but at the cost of: - never having a parliamentary majority - never being able to call a general election - watching impotently as EU membership is extended again and again If so, it would be such a beautiful, poetic outcome @davidallengreen
After years spent impotently bemoaning the symptoms of Citizens United v.
Hindutva militant mobs VHP and Bajrang Dal activists yearning for 'pounds of flesh' violently attacked Muslim Kashmiris, burning Muslims' cars to ashes and vandalising property in Prem Nagar, Pacca Danga, Rehari, Gummat, Narwal, Janipur, Gujjar Nagar as the local police impotently watched the spectacle as mute spectators.
They have been condemned for a decade and more to life under Ugandan armed occupation while the authorities in Nairobi impotently refuse to free them.