Definition of powerless in English:



  • [often with infinitive] Without ability, influence, or power.

    ‘troops were powerless to stop last night's shooting’
    • ‘But the police said they were powerless to deal with them if they hadn't committed a crime.’
    • ‘I could hear myself snapping at my daughter and bullying my husband but I was powerless to stop.’
    • ‘He feels helpless and powerless to do anything to change things for the better.’
    • ‘British politicians think that we are powerless to resist the temptations of convenience food.’
    • ‘These could be extremely damaging to local economies, which felt powerless to influence them.’
    • ‘They are laughing because, like us, they are powerless to dream up anything better to do.’
    • ‘Many residents, who have had all their tyres slashed, say police seem powerless to stop it.’
    • ‘They kept floating upwards and at first, even with my weight belt on, I was powerless to stop them.’
    • ‘He knew what was going to happen next, and the worse thing was, he was powerless to stop it.’
    • ‘Many don't even know there's a code of ethics, or if they do, feel powerless to enforce it.’
    • ‘They probably want to force their own ideas on a general public that is deemed powerless to stop them.’
    • ‘Hundreds of people were kept awake in their beds by an all-night party because police were powerless to act.’
    • ‘This is set to take place on December 19 and the board seems powerless to stop it.’
    • ‘They do and we are powerless to stop it, like brittle ships fighting against waves during a storm.’
    • ‘Many communities, especially those near schools, feel powerless to stop the march of the masts.’
    • ‘I had my every move recorded and felt powerless to stop the intimidation.’
    • ‘If the developers decide to put the road on part of the track bed then the town council will be powerless to stop them.’
    • ‘League clubs appear powerless to stop their top stars leaving, but a decade ago, the boot was on the other foot.’
    • ‘The Government can control some areas of policy and are powerless to control others.’
    • ‘This gradually ebbed as they seemed powerless to prevent their opponents decamping in their half.’
    impotent, helpless, without power, ineffectual, inadequate, ineffective, with no say, useless, defenceless, vulnerable, weak, feeble, paralysed
    unable, not able, incapable
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