The English word debilitate is a verb and in this form it means to make an object weak. In other words, if a person does something to someone else and weakens that person then it is said that the first person debilitates the receiving person. Some example sentences of the use of debilitate as a verb might be:
- The SWAT team debilitated the robber by tossing a tear gas grenade into the bank.
- A strange spyware program debilitated the computer by affecting processing speed.
- Lack of sleep debilitates a person and makes him or her susceptible to illnesses.
The noun form of debilitate is debility and it refers to a weakness in the object. Another noun form is the word debilitation. Debilitation can refer to an already weakened state or the process of gradually weakening the person. Usually, debilitation or debility is used to indicate an already weakened state when used to refer to medical conditions. For non-medical conditions, the two forms of the noun are used to refer to the process of weakening. Some examples of the use of debility or debilitation are:
- The book tells of the debilitation suffered by the inhabitants of a city cut off by enemy soldiers.
- The patient became ill because of his debility caused by a general lack of sleep.
There is still another noun form of debilitate and that is debilitant. Debilitant is a countable noun form and can be pluralized. The noun form debilitant can be used to refer to some type of agent that weakens or has a debilitating effect on someone. It is slightly different in usage from debilitation in that it is a noun used to refer to a specific agent that weakens. The word debilitant can be exemplified by its use in the following sentences:
- Eating too much heavy food can be a debilitant to weight loss.
- The heavy pollution in the city was a debilitant to runners as it affected their breathing.
- He has taken many days off from work because of several debilitants.
The adjective form of the word is debilitating and is used to describe another noun that has the effect of weakening or fatiguing a person. Debilitating can also refer to any force that impedes you from reaching a goal. Debilitative is another form of adjective use. Some examples of the use of this form of the word as an adjective are:
- Lack of confidence can be debilitative for a person trying to reach high goals.
- She had a debilitative illness that kept her from holding down a job.
- He continued to box even though he had sustained many debilitating injuries.
- The debilitating thunderstorm and flood kept us from returning to our home
Debilitate and its other non-verbal word forms come from the Latin word. debilis. You can see this reflected in the Spanish language as the adjective for weakness in this language is débil.
Some synonyms for debilitate as a verb include weaken, exhaust, fatigue, drain, deplete, and enervate. Antonyms for this verb include stimulate, invigorate, excite, refresh, restore, revitalize, animate, and enliven.