tr.v. en·er·vat·ed, en·er·vat·ing, en·er·vates
1. To weaken or destroy the strength or vitality of: "the luxury which enervates and destroys nations" (Henry David Thoreau).
2. Medicine To remove a nerve or part of a nerve.
Deprived of strength; debilitated.
[Latin ēnervāre, ēnervāt- : ē-, ex-, ex- + nervus, sinew; see (s)neəu- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
Usage Note: Sometimes people mistakenly use enervate to mean "to invigorate" or "to excite" by assuming that this word is a close cousin of the verb energize. In fact enervate does not come from the same source as energize (Greek energos, "active"). It comes from Latin nervus, "sinew." Thus enervate means "to cause to become 'out of muscle' ," that is, "to weaken or deplete of strength."
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
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