Etymology
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impotence (n.)

early 15c., "physical weakness," also "poverty," from Old French impotence "weakness" (13c.), from Latin impotentia "lack of control or power," from impotentem "lacking control, powerless" (see impotent). In reference to a complete want of (male) sexual potency, from c. 1500. The figurative senses of the word in Latin were "violence, fury, unbridled passion," via the notion of "want of self-restraining power," and these sometimes were used in English. Related: Impotency.

updated on October 27, 2015

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