Etymology
Advertisement

Words related to impotent

in- (1)
Origin and meaning of in-
word-forming element meaning "not, opposite of, without" (also im-, il-, ir- by assimilation of -n- with following consonant, a tendency which began in later Latin), from Latin in- "not," cognate with Greek an-, Old English un-, all from PIE root *ne- "not."

In Old French and Middle English often en-, but most of these forms have not survived in Modern English, and the few that do (enemy, for instance) no longer are felt as negative. The rule of thumb in English has been to use in- with obviously Latin elements, un- with native or nativized ones.
Advertisement
potent (adj.)

early 15c., "mighty, very powerful, possessed of inherent strength," from Latin potentem (nominative potens) "powerful," present participle of *potere "be powerful," from potis "powerful, able, capable; possible;" of persons, "better, preferable; chief, principal; strongest, foremost," from PIE root *poti- "powerful; lord." Meaning "having sexual power, capable of orgasm in sexual intercourse" (of men) is recorded by 1893.

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.
*poti- 

Proto-Indo-European root meaning "powerful; lord." 

It forms all or part of: bashaw; compos mentis; despot; hospodar; host (n.1) "person who receives guests;" idempotent; impotent; omnipotent; pasha; plenipotentiary; posse; possess; possible; potence; potency; potent; potentate; potential; potentiate; potentiometer; power; totipotent

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit patih "master, husband;" Greek posis, Lithuanian patis "husband;" Latin potis "powerful, able, capable; possible."