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A.Word.A.Day--impuissance

Pronunciation RealAudio

impuissance (im-PYOO-i-suhns) noun

Lack of strength or power.

[From Middle English, from Old French, from in- (not) + puissance (power), ultimately from Indo-European root poti- (powerful). Some other words that are derived from the same root: possess, power, possible, and potent.]

"In conjunction with their impuissance and low status, the regulated designs of Zoroastrian houses facilitated tension and conflict between members of the two groups."
Sanjoy Mazumdar and Shampa Mazumdar; Intergroup Social Relations And Architecture; Environment and Behavior (Thousand Oaks, California); May 1997.

"This friendly warning -- this forbearance to strike the blow that was to remove the manacles from millions of bondsmen -- was treated by the masters of the slaves with scorn. It was sneered at by them, as an act of sheer impuissance."
Benson J. Lossing; Our Country; 1905.

This week's theme: Miscellaneous words

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