c. 1600, "deprive of force or strength," from Latin enervatus, past participle of enervare "to weaken" (see enervation). Literal sense of "to weaken, impair" in English is from 1610s. Related: Ennervated; ennervating. As a verb Middle English had enerve (c. 1400, eneruyd).
updated on August 30, 2014