Definition of incapacitate in US English:



[with object]
  • 1Prevent from functioning in a normal way.

    ‘he was incapacitated by a heart attack’
    • ‘He later added: ‘The pathologists say there was no evidence Robert struggled, which suggests Robert may have been incapacitated in some way.’’
    • ‘In 1963, he suffered the first of several strokes which finally incapacitated him.’
    • ‘He came by last night and attacked my servants, mortally wounding one and incapacitating the other and threatened me with my life if I didn't hand the gems over.’
    • ‘I sweat like a racehorse, and very dark thoughts mingled with incapacitating spasms of pain.’
    • ‘The reason for the application was that the existing worker had suffered a heart attack and is currently incapacitated.’
    • ‘Many stepped up when wounds incapacitated their leaders.’
    • ‘And we're searching now what would need to take place if the governor would be incapacitated.’
    • ‘And in fact, we have a number of incidents in Russia lately where people were either assassinated or poisoned or administered some drugs which incapacitated them.’
    • ‘Bob has been totally incapacitated, as far as his professional life is concerned because of this.’
    • ‘The condition, which he contracted more than three years ago, frequently incapacitates him.’
    • ‘Tom, an astrophysicist, had begun suffering from incapacitating depression during our final year.’
    • ‘According to the central bank law, a member of the bank's board of governors cannot be replaced unless he or she has been proven to have committed a crime, has been incapacitated or voluntarily resigns.’
    • ‘As in the case for the forearm, attempts to immediately incapacitate an adversary by directing thrusts or cuts to leg muscles may not have been particularly effective.’
    • ‘The battle was over, and the only knight preventing his retreat was incapacitated.’
    • ‘And the second bomber was injured or at least was incapacitated by that first attack, and his bomb didn't go off.’
    • ‘Officers also carry CS spray which stings, irritates, and incapacitates the suspect.’
    • ‘This largely incapacitates the biological function.’
    • ‘In most cases the parents are physically incapacitated through drugs or drink or mentally and emotionally destroyed by having suffered themselves as children.’
    • ‘Once a patient is extremely incapacitated, there is little medical motivation to aggressively treat such infections.’
    • ‘He is married to Aggie, incapacitated with a broken leg, like Jimmy Stewart in Rear Window.’
    disabled, debilitated, indisposed, unfit
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Law Deprive (someone) of their legal capacity.
      • ‘The plaintiff's case at trial was simply that she was totally incapacitated.’
      • ‘I will tell the jury that he was mentally incapacitated or driven by emotion alone and hadn't a clue of how to deal.’
      • ‘Those physical injuries incapacitated her for her former job, but it was not suggested that they incapacitated her wholly.’
      • ‘Her lawyers have said she was so incapacitated she could not sign her name and had to use a thumb print as a signature.’
      • ‘The finding against us was that the worker did not show to the satisfaction of the review officer that he was incapacitated at the point in time he was seeking wages, workers' compensation payments and nothing more.’


Mid 17th century: from incapacity + -ate.