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Inability   /ˌɪnəbˈɪlɪti/   Listen
Inability

noun
1.
Lack of ability (especially mental ability) to do something.
2.
Lacking the power to perform.  Synonym: unfitness.






WordNet 3.0 © 2010 Princeton University








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"Inability" Quotes from Famous Books



... Metropolitan managers offered Katrine an engagement for next season. In a lengthy interview with their extremely courteous representative she explained her inability to accept the very flattering terms by reason of the already signed St. Petersburg contracts. Although there seemed no definite outcome from the interview, the gentleman with whom it was held left her, as all did, ...
— Katrine • Elinor Macartney Lane

... were the first to announce the arrival of a friend, gambolling about him. After speaking a word of cheer to Eumaeus Telemachus enquired who the stranger was; hearing that he was a Cretan he lamented his inability to give him a welcome in his home owing to the insolence of his enemies. Remembering the anxiety of his mother during his absence he sent Eumaeus to the town to acquaint her with his arrival. Athena seized the opportunity to reveal ...
— Authors of Greece • T. W. Lumb

... personal fact in the world that she knows things in her trances which she cannot possibly have heard in her waking state, and that the definitive philosophy of her trances is yet to be found. The limitations of her trance information, its discontinuity and fitfulness, and its apparent inability to develop beyond a certain point, although they end by arousing one's moral and human impatience with the phenomenon, yet are, from a scientific point of view, amongst its most interesting peculiarities, since where there are limits there are conditions, ...
— The Making of Religion • Andrew Lang

... they were in trouble. The head clerk was standing with them, and made a sign to Orsino, signifying that they would soon go. Orsino watched him. From time to time he shook his head and made gestures which indicated his utter inability to do anything for them. Contini's courage sank lower ...
— Don Orsino • F. Marion Crawford

... subjects to imitate his liberality. In a very few months it became clear that all this compassion was feigned for the purpose of cajoling his Parliament, that he regarded the refugees with mortal hatred, and that he regretted nothing so much as his own inability to do what ...
— The History of England from the Accession of James II. - Volume 2 (of 5) • Thomas Babington Macaulay

... disposition to walk swiftly, which before had been a controlling thing, was gone. My pace was slow enough now, descending the hill, for even Tulp, who followed close upon my heels. But my head was not much clearer. It was not from inability to think: to the contrary, the vividness and swift succession of my thoughts, as they raced through my ...
— In the Valley • Harold Frederic

... air-tight stove has to be opened, under such circumstances, you may well suppose! So it happened that our young man had been obliged, from an early period, to do something to support himself, and found himself stopped short in his studies by the inability of the good people at home to furnish him the present means ...
— The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table • Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (The Physician and Poet not the Jurist)

... mistress go to London without him, Philippe went into winter quarters, as he called it,—that is, he returned to his attic room in his mother's appartement. He made some gloomy reflections as he went to bed that night, and when he got up again. He was conscious within himself of the inability to live otherwise than as he had been living the last year. The luxury that surrounded Mariette, the dinners, the suppers, the evenings in the side-scenes, the animation of wits and journalists, the sort of racket that went on around him, the delights that tickled both his senses ...
— The Two Brothers • Honore de Balzac

... however, why the door should not be opened, it would be easy to understand how and why the caretaker might be suddenly afflicted with an inability ...
— The House by the Lock • C. N. Williamson

... sublime. Letters of condolence and of admiration rained upon him. He wept over his daughter's dead body, and was broken-hearted, while, instead of drawing attention to the extenuating circumstances for his own inability to save her—as he would have done in all other cases—he fervently prayed to God to forgive her for having sinned against the laws of Sion. His grief was so sincere that not only the Sionists but the whole of Chicago ...
— Modern Saints and Seers • Jean Finot

... than three score ptomaines, and half of them are poisonous. In fact, illness due to eating infected foods is much more common than is generally supposed. Often there is only one case in a number of those eating the food, due merely to that person's inability to throw off the poison. Such cases are difficult to distinguish. They are usually supposed to be gastro- enteritis. Ptomaines, as their name shows, are found in dead bodies. They are found in all dead matter after a time, whether it is decayed food ...
— The Dream Doctor • Arthur B. Reeve

... calamities and strange portents. These are divine reprimands sent to recall him to a sense of duty. Thus, partial eclipses of the sun and moon are manifest warnings that the rod of empire is not wielded aright. Ever since WE ascended the throne, OUR inability to continue the glorious traditions of our departed ancestors and carry on the great work of civilization, has now culminated in a warning message from on high. It therefore behoves Us to issue commands for personal reformation, in order to ...
— Moon Lore • Timothy Harley

... as, instead of receiving them into the good soil of a generous heart, to bring forth truth an hundred fold, so cut and pare the words of the Lord as to take the very life from them, quenching all their glory and colour in their own inability to believe, and still would have the dead letter of them accepted as the comfort of a creator to the sore hearts he made in his own image! Here, 'as if they were God's spies,' some such would tell us that the Lord proclaims ...
— Hope of the Gospel • George MacDonald

... subject. He returned highly elated, with the good news confirmed, and stood in the midst of his family relating it to them. Lucy stopped sewing and her hands dropped in her lap, for the news was such a wonderful surprise to her. Mr. Richmond closed his remarks by saying that he regretted his inability to find George Acton anywhere, and nobody seemed to know what had become of him. To search for him in the cemetery had not ...
— After Long Years and Other Stories • Translated from the German by Sophie A. Miller and Agnes M. Dunne

... no dialectician, and, moreover, superstitious enough himself, gives eight different definitions of the word; which is equivalent to confessing his inability to define it ...
— Health and Education • Charles Kingsley

... visit. All these matters have been swept hither and thither over the ground by the action of the tidal and other currents, until they have happened to drift over this spot, and here they have finally settled owing to the inability of the currents to move them up the steep sides of the depression. Let us walk round the heap; we may see something of interest before we have completed ...
— The Log of the Flying Fish - A Story of Aerial and Submarine Peril and Adventure • Harry Collingwood

... has to choose between her loving ministry to her sick husband and to her sick child, and she chooses that which she sees to be the more important duty of the hour, she is not responsible for any results that follow from her inability to be in two places at the same time. A man with a limited income may know that ten families are in need of money, while he can give help to only two of them. Even though others starve while he is supplying food to all whom he can aid, he is not responsible for results ...
— A Lie Never Justifiable • H. Clay Trumbull

... time in his life to appreciate the virtues of his brother Joseph. He who had been the victorious general crossing the Alps now found himself the Alp, with a dozen victorious generals crossing him; he who had been the gunner was now the target, and his present inability to express his feelings in language which his tormentors could understand, for he had not yet mastered the French tongue, kept him in a state of being which may ...
— Mr. Bonaparte of Corsica • John Kendrick Bangs

... conscientious fear of disturbing what they like to think of as permanently settled, would view such a conclusion of the whole matter with profound gratitude to God. But there are many more to whom such a confession of the Church's inability to appreciate and unwillingness to meet the spiritual needs of a civilization wonderfully unlike anything that has preceded it would be most disheartening. Least of all is there valid ground for hope in the case of those who fancy that if they can ...
— A Short History of the Book of Common Prayer • William Reed Huntington

... showed that Granvelle was not mistaken when he charged her with being entirely changed in regard to him, and when he addressed her a reproachful letter, protesting his astonishment that his conduct had become auspicious, and his inability to divine the cause of the weariness and dissatisfaction which she manifested ...
— The Rise of the Dutch Republic, 1555-1566 • John Lothrop Motley

... little pleasure in forcing people to be definite, and Miss Arden invariably fell back on "you understand" whenever she herself did not understand. In fact, in exact proportion to her own inability to make herself clear to herself, did she always insist that she was clear ...
— Catharine Furze • Mark Rutherford

... had country seats within easy walk or drive of her home. Yet there was a heavy cross in her lot, and its edges were very sharp. In her aged aunt, with whom she lived, there were a harshness of character, and an inability to appreciate or sympathise with her niece, which would have made Mary Stansfield's life a burden to her had it not been for her high sense of duty, her patient charity, and God's abiding-grace in her ...
— Working in the Shade - Lowly Sowing brings Glorious Reaping • Theodore P Wilson

... now and then that Opdyke turned to her society the more eagerly after a protracted season of receiving varied calls. However, well he might turn to Olive! It was fifteen months, now, since his accident, fifteen months that the brace of New York surgeons had professed their inability to predict a future. Uncertainty like that is bound to tell on any man; and, throughout it all, Olive Keltridge never ...
— The Brentons • Anna Chapin Ray

... upon the day succeeding this adventure, to restore to my benefactor the credentials with which be had been pleased to entrust me. Satisfied of the truth of my commission, I could only deplore my inability to execute it faithfully. In spite of what had passed at the cottage-door, the doctrines which I had advocated there lost none of their character and influence upon my own mind. Falling from the lips of others, they dropped ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, No. 327 - Vol. 53, January, 1843 • Various

... the fear of God into the nigger's heart," Captain Woodward blurted out. "Perhaps you're right, Roberts. Perhaps it's his stupidity that makes him succeed, and surely one phase of his stupidity is his inability to understand the niggers. But there's one thing sure, the white has to run the niggers whether he understands them or ...
— South Sea Tales • Jack London

... had elapsed before he succeeded in mastering this singular attack. At length he rose, and placing his chair somewhat further back from the window, continued to look out in silence, not so much from love of silence, as apparently from inability to speak. The stranger, in the mean time, eyed him keenly; and as he examined his features from time to time, it might be observed that an expression of satisfaction, if not almost of certainty, settled upon his own countenance. In a quarter ...
— The Black Baronet; or, The Chronicles Of Ballytrain - The Works of William Carleton, Volume One • William Carleton

... of Adrian VI. (1522-3) and of Clement VII. (1523-34) to yield to these demands was due neither to their inability to appreciate the magnitude of the abuses nor of their desire to oppose any and every proposal of reform. The disturbed condition of the times, when so many individuals had fallen away from the faith and when whole nations formerly noted for their loyalty to the Pope threatened to follow in ...
— History of the Catholic Church from the Renaissance to the French • Rev. James MacCaffrey

... of the Scots to their southern neighbors was also an infallible engine by which the cardinal wrought upon the people; and though the terror of Henry's arms, and their own inability to make resistance, had procured a temporary assent to the alliance and marriage proposed, the settled habits of the nation produced an extreme aversion to those measures. The English ambassador and his ...
— The History of England in Three Volumes, Vol.I., Part C. - From Henry VII. to Mary • David Hume

... this. Mr. Markham, from the advice of my enemies, having occasioned several kinds of losses, and given protection to those who owed balances, prevented the balance from being collected,—for this reason, that, the money not being paid in time, the Baboo might be convicted of inability. From this reason, all the owers of balances refused to pay the malwajib of the sircar. Before this, the Baboo had frequently desired that gentleman to show his resentment against the persons who owed the ...
— The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol. XI. (of 12) • Edmund Burke

... knowing that the real pain would come later. That which slowly awoke in her now, as he paced the room, was a high sense of danger, and a persistent inability to regard the man who had insulted her as her husband. He was rather an enemy to them both, and he would overturn, if he could, the frail craft of their happiness in the storm. She cried out to Hugh as across ...
— The Crossing • Winston Churchill

... existence. Comte purposely excluded the realm of the concrete from his studies, and therefore simplified, to a great extent, his field of labor. Yet even in his attempt to bring order into this curtailed department of inquiry, he professes, not merely his own inability to accomplish, but his conviction of the inherent impossibility of the accomplishment of that, for the abstract only, which Buckle really undertook for the concrete; namely, the reduction of the Phenomena of the Universe to a single Law; or, what is ...
— Continental Monthly, Vol. 5, Issue 2, February, 1864 • Various

... not find words to express our admiration, but an old gentleman who followed us everywhere—regretting no doubt his inability to share our sentiments—said in a tone of ill-temper: "Oh, what enthusiasts these French people are!" and yet he also was French. I think the poor man would have done better to stay at home. Instead of ...
— The Story of a Soul (L'Histoire d'une Ame): The Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux • Therese Martin (of Lisieux)

... influence, or of representatives of the leading nations of the world scrambling with fatuous eagerness for its possession. One huge sombre poster depicted the Damned in Hell suffering a new torment from their inability to get at the Filboid Studge which elegant young fiends held in transparent bowls just beyond their reach. The scene was rendered even more gruesome by a subtle suggestion of the features of leading ...
— The Chronicles of Clovis • Saki

... as Leith came crashing through from the rear, and the old egoist, flushed and ruffled, dropped back to meet him, evidently convinced of my insanity through my inability to appreciate his efforts to prove that the skulls of long-dead Polynesians possessed peculiar formations they were foreign to the islanders ...
— The White Waterfall • James Francis Dwyer

... now long ago exhausted," Pao-yue rejoined laughingly, "and instead of confessing your inability to devise any, you still go ...
— Hung Lou Meng, Book II • Cao Xueqin

... some of the Southern colleges, this word, with a derived meaning, signifies a complete stopper. Used in the sense of an entire failure in reciting; an utter inability ...
— A Collection of College Words and Customs • Benjamin Homer Hall

... There was a cloud of them—thicker than the smoke of coke-ovens. He had breathed that thickness for a long time, but he got a fresh sense of suffocation now. Toward the post-office he moved. Around the corner he came upon one of two brothers whom he remembered as carpenters. He recalled his inability once to get that gentleman to hang a door for him. He was a carpenter again now and he carried a saw and a plane. There was grim humour in the situation. The carpenter's brother had gone—and he himself could hardly ...
— The Trail of the Lonesome Pine • John Fox, Jr.

... to provide for, thought the sacrifice too great, and shuddered at an alliance with Captain De Courcy. Avoided by the tenants of his large estates, whose misfortunes met with no compassion, and whose inability to answer the demands of the rent-day were followed up with immediate distress and seizure,—abhorred by his own household, who, if their services were not required, vanished at his approach, or, if summoned, ...
— The King's Own • Captain Frederick Marryat

... careless, worthless. Isaiah, 32, 11. O.N. duglauss, Norse duglaus, good for nothing, said of a person who has lost all courage or strength, as opposed to duglegr, capable. Norse dugloysa, weakness, inability. Cp. Dan. due, ...
— Scandinavian influence on Southern Lowland Scotch • George Tobias Flom

... against want and misfortune, the sure provision for old age and inability, which the communal system offers—is no doubt an inducement with a great many to whom the struggle for existence appears difficult and beset ...
— The Communistic Societies of the United States • Charles Nordhoff

... that I should be deficient in my detail, and present my plan so as to give it a false appearance. Truth partially told becomes falsehood: and it was a kind of blind consciousness of this which first induced men to countenance dissimulation. They felt their inability to do justice to truth, and therefore concluded hypocrisy was a virtue, and, strange to tell, truth itself sometimes a vice. It was a lamentable mistake. It is partial truth, or in other words falsehood, which ...
— Anna St. Ives • Thomas Holcroft

... situation at court, and of the reason for his prolonged travels. As he talked her eyes conveyed the exquisite sense of her complete comprehension. She saw, before he could justify himself, how the uncertainty of his future, and his inability to act, had cast him adrift upon a life of superficial enjoyment; and how his latent dissatisfaction with this life had inevitably resulted in self-distrust and vacillation. "You wait your hour," she ...
— The Valley of Decision • Edith Wharton

... spring breeze was not powerful enough to raise the veil, though from the wild sounds which were heard occasionally on the ridges, and through the glens, it might be supposed to wail at a sense of its own inability. The route of the travellers was directed by the course which the river had ploughed for itself down the valley, the banks of which bore in general that dark grey livery which Sir Aymer de Valence had intimated to be the prevalent tint of the country. Some ineffectual struggles of ...
— Waverley Volume XII • Sir Walter Scott

... fell full length in the bath-tub just as you found me. I was unable to move anything except my fingers and toes. I did not appear to be hurt in the least, and my senses, instead of being dulled by the shock, seemed to be preternaturally sharp, and I realized in a moment that if this inability to move remained with me for five minutes I was a dead man—dead, not from the shock, but by drowning. I gazed up through that clear green water, and I could see the ripples on the surface slowly subsiding after my plunge into the tub. It reminded me of looking ...
— In a Steamer Chair And Other Stories • Robert Barr

... it was the custom for the father to determine, as soon as a child was born, whether it should be exposed to death or brought up; and this not because the rearing of a deformed or weak child would deteriorate a race which prided itself on strength and courage, but from the inability of the parents, from poverty, to bring up their offspring. The newly born child was laid on the ground, and there remained untouched until its fate was decided by the father or nearest male relative; if it was to live, ...
— A Girl's Ride in Iceland • Ethel Brilliana Alec-Tweedie

... years Clarence Reed has been one of the "war horses" of the N. N. G. A. We were expecting to see him cap this long service by presiding over this session, and it was with great sorrow that we learned of his inability ...
— Northern Nut Growers Association Report of the Proceedings at the Thirty-Eighth Annual Meeting • Northern Nut Growers Association

... for Presents was approaching; he knew that very shortly he would have to kiss and be kissed by a multitude of persons, that he would have to say again and again, "Oh, thank you, thank you so much!" that he would have his usual consciousness of his inability to thank anybody at all in the way that they expected to be thanked. Helen and Mary never worried about such things. They delighted in kissing and hugging and multitudes of words. If only he might have had his presents by himself and then stolen ...
— Jeremy • Hugh Walpole

... vein of an animal, even in small quantities, the symptoms produced are dyspnoea,[1] choking, spasms of the limbs and then of the trunk, signs of vertigo, consisting of inability to stand erect or walk steadily, and, finally retching and vomiting, and death by asphyxia. These symptoms, which have usually been attributed to the coagulating action of the salt upon the blood, have been shown not to depend upon that change, which, indeed, does not occur, but upon a direct paralyzing ...
— Scientific American Supplement, No. 385, May 19, 1883 • Various

... fingers in it—and in this manner we all again succumbed. I should tire you if I were to enumerate all the manners and modes in which we accomplished the sexual act—suffice it to say that we kept it up until five o'clock the next morning and only ceased from sheer inability to proceed further. During that time I had embraced three girls in every part of their bodies—en con, en cul, between the bubbies, the buttocks, and in short every portion ...
— The Life and Amours of the Beautiful, Gay and Dashing Kate Percival - The Belle of the Delaware • Kate Percival

... keystone that binds together the noble and well-constructed arch of our empire and our Constitution. A constitution made up of balanced powers must ever be a critical thing. As such I mean to touch that part of it which comes within my reach. I know my inability, and I wish for support from every quarter. In particular I shall aim at the friendship, and shall cultivate the best correspondence, of the worthy colleague ...
— The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol. II. (of 12) • Edmund Burke

... rogues like himself. And yet, though he was more or less confronted now with men of integrity, he was as helpless in their hands as if he had been a child. The maddening part of the whole thing was his inability to find anything to strike. He was like a general leading an army into the dark in a strange country, and knowing all the time that he had cunning ...
— The Mystery of the Four Fingers • Fred M. White

... from the promises of the gospel. When any object of good is proposed and promised to us upon asking, it clearly evinces that there can be no impotence in us, with respect to obtaining it, besides the disapprobation of the will; and that inability which consists in disinclination, never renders any thing improperly the subject of precept ...
— The Book of Religions • John Hayward

... of his active life, after his paralytic stroke had prevented his playing, he suffered much from his inability to demonstrate to his pupils the way in which certain passages should be played. Frequent outbursts of rage ensued, of which his pupils were obliged to bear the brunt, even to being prodded with his iron-shod stick. Sometimes scenes more amusing would occur, as when some grandees would ...
— Famous Violinists of To-day and Yesterday • Henry C. Lahee

... Reconstruction have been disappointed because those governments did not and could not stand the test of time. To this extent and for this reason some persons claim that the policy was a failure. I am not one of that number, the reasons for which the readers of the article referred to will see. But the inability of those governments to stand the test of time I accounted for under three heads, one of which was several unfortunate decisions rendered by the Supreme Court, the result, in my opinion, of two unwise appointments made by President Grant in the persons of Chief Justice ...
— The Journal of Negro History, Volume 3, 1918 • Various

... lack of proper co-operation. Some subjects seemed to be either too confused or too demented to be capable of understanding and following the instructions given them. Others were for one reason or another unwilling to co-operate. It is important to distinguish inability from unwillingness to co-operate, since the former indicates in itself an abnormal state of the mind, while the latter is quite often ...
— A Study of Association in Insanity • Grace Helen Kent

... sleep soundly during the greater part of the night. I was awakened by a horrid dream of some giant shape stalking down the slope of ice to seize and devour me, and sat up trembling with horror that was not a little increased by my inability to recollect myself, and by my therefore conceiving the canvas that covered me to be the groping of the ogre's ...
— The Frozen Pirate • W. Clark Russell

... narrative, or, rather, he cared in a story only for the moments when it seemed to double upon itself and turn into irony. All his attempts to write for the stage (where his dialogue might have been so telling) were foiled by his inability to 'bring three together on the stage at once,' as he confessed in a letter to Mrs. Shelley; 'they are so shy with me, that I can get no more than two; and there they stand till it is the time, without being the season, to withdraw them.' Narrative ...
— Figures of Several Centuries • Arthur Symons

... blame (from professed critics and others), should shrink so painfully from spoken praise or formal tribute of any kind. It makes my skin hot even to recall the one or two such episodes I have faced. The wretched inability to think where to dispose of one's hands and gaze during the genial delivery of after-dinner encomiums; the distressing difficulty of replying! Upon the whole, I think I was better at receiving punishment. But it is true, the latter one ...
— The Record of Nicholas Freydon - An Autobiography • A. J. (Alec John) Dawson

... greatly regret my inability to counteract the effect of all the errors made by those entrusted with the ...
— In the World War • Count Ottokar Czernin

... helping me, and I ought to remember that their help in the commencement of the enterprise was essential in putting the Telegraph into the position it now is [in]; therefore, although they give me now no aid, it is not from unwillingness but from inability, and I shall not grudge them their proportion of its profits, nor do I believe they will be unwilling to reimburse me my expenses, should the Telegraph eventually be purchased ...
— Samuel F. B. Morse, His Letters and Journals - In Two Volumes, Volume II • Samuel F. B. Morse

... brain or nervous system is perfect, so the problem is one of the incapacity which causes the maladjustment. Crime results from defective heredity when applied to the environment. It comes from the inability of the machine to make the necessary adjustments of life. The making of the criminal is largely a question of his fortune or misfortune in the environment where he is placed. It is absurd to say that one inherits the tendency to rob or rape or burglarize or kill. ...
— Crime: Its Cause and Treatment • Clarence Darrow

... himself was a Catholic. In spite of the Test Act it was suspected that men Catholics in heart still held high office in the State, and we know that in Arlington's case the suspicion was just. Shaftesbury seized on this public alarm, stirred above all by a sense of inability to meet the secret dangers which day after day was disclosing, as the means of carrying out his plans. He began fanning the panic by tales of a Papist rising in London and of a coming Irish revolt with a French army to back it. He retired to his house ...
— History of the English People, Volume VI (of 8) - Puritan England, 1642-1660; The Revolution, 1660-1683 • John Richard Green

... so defective it would not obtain the energy, weight, and dignity essential to its affording due support to the general government." This was one reason for his declining to return to the office after he ceased to be governor; he felt his inability to accomplish what the Court must establish, if the United States continued to grow into a world power. Under these circumstances, it was well, perhaps, that he gave place to John Marshall, who made it a great, supporting pillar, strong enough to resist state supremacy on the one side, and ...
— A Political History of the State of New York, Volumes 1-3 • DeAlva Stanwood Alexander

... magnitude of the task laid upon him. The girl's sense of time was accurate enough, but she was undeniably awkward and clumsy in her movements and there was an almost total absence of coordination of muscle and brain. She had, however, suffered too long and too keenly from her inability to join with the others in the dance to fail to make the best of her opportunity to relieve herself ...
— Corporal Cameron • Ralph Connor

... this expression, "which cover all from above," means literally, "the bottom of the sea is laid bare"; and they confess their inability to understand it. But is it not the same story told by Ovid of the bottom of ...
— Ragnarok: The Age of Fire and Gravel • Ignatius Donnelly

... while he partook of a light meal. He picked a fried sole and drank two glasses of white wine. Then he ate a dish of green peas and compared their virtues with green corn. He enjoyed the spectacle of Brendon's hearty appetite and bewailed his inability to join him in red meat and a ...
— The Red Redmaynes • Eden Phillpotts

... in itself, not as a symbol of success won in a cherished pursuit, argued some quality of weakness in the man, something unstable which would make for failure. His surprise was increased by an inability to recollect that Mallinson had ever considered literature as a means to his end. Long sojourning in the wilderness, moreover, had given Drake an exaggerated reverence for the printed page. He was inclined to set Mallinson on a pinnacle, and scourge ...
— The Philanderers • A.E.W. Mason

... be a sin to obey him in this. Believe me, she will most assuredly defy your authority; so you had better take my advice and let her alone—thus sparing yourself the mortification of exhibiting before your guests your inability to govern your child." ...
— Elsie Dinsmore • Martha Finley

... There was only one thing, that is, to make up in him for everything he had lost, though it was distinct enough indeed that this thing might sometimes serve. It consisted in the perfection of an indifference, an indifference at the present moment directed to the plea—a plea of inability, of pure destitution—with which his sister had met him. Yet it had even now a wider embrace, took in quite sufficiently all consequences of queerness, confessed in advance to the false note that, in such a setting, he almost ...
— Some Short Stories • Henry James

... men observed him; and, as Jalaladdeen was withdrawing, he stepped forward hastily and invited him in a most friendly manner to remain with them during the day, and to pass it in a cheerful and convivial spirit. Jalaladdeen endeavoured to excuse himself by pointing to his mean garb, intimating his inability to mix in such society; but his objections were of no avail. He was conducted to the table in a most courteous manner, and seated with them. The slaves waited on him, and placed before him viands with which he was at once ...
— Eastern Tales by Many Story Tellers • Various

... than two or three days—when he gave me the first intimation of what I tell you. It was sad to see him struggling between his desire to represent it to me as a matter of choice on his part, and his inability to conceal that it was forced upon him. ...
— David Copperfield • Charles Dickens

... topic or reader more unsuitable. The aversion he had manifested at first increased every moment. It was one of those antipathies as unquestionable as they are unaccountable. It at first exhibited itself in restlessness, and an inability to remain quiet, and afterwards in half-suppressed groans and sighs. If he opened his eyes and looked at the reader, he saw a devilish figure, with a malignant leer glaring at him; if he shut them to exclude the disagreeable image it was converted into a thousand smaller figures, dancing ...
— The Lost Hunter - A Tale of Early Times • John Turvill Adams

... entered, and found, to her surprise, excellent refreshment provided in the desolate house, evidently but lately deserted. But what riveted her eyes, was a letter to herself in the handwriting of David, but tremulously written, announcing his inability to keep an appointment, (one more!) which they had made, to part for ever—her terrible distress, it will be remembered, on the last occasion, deterring the young man from any further trial of her feelings. He further ...
— Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Vol 58, No. 357, July 1845 • Various

... added, turning to Levin and drawing his arm through his. Levin would have been glad indeed to be converted, but could not make out what the point was, and retreating a few steps from the speakers, he explained to Stepan Arkadyevitch his inability to understand why the marshal of the province should be asked ...
— Anna Karenina • Leo Tolstoy

... forward or a little outward. The body is bent forward to relax the ilio-psoas muscle and the [inverted Y]-ligament, the foot is advanced and the heel drawn up. It is not uncommon for the patient to be able to walk after the accident, and only to seek advice some time later on account of inability to adduct and extend the limb. There is apparent lengthening of the limb due to tilting of the pelvis downward on the affected side. The hip is flattened, the trochanter less prominent than usual, ...
— Manual of Surgery Volume Second: Extremities—Head—Neck. Sixth Edition. • Alexander Miles

... feeling fairly oppressive that I was "the least of all the saints." My materia medica was in my vest pocket; my small library in my head, with its contents in a very hazy condition. With a weak memory for details, and marked inability to possess truth except by the slow process of digestion and assimilation, my brain was more a machine-shop than a wareroom; hence capacity of retail dealing was of the smallest. I was not in the least conscious at this time that a large wareroom amply ...
— The No Breakfast Plan and the Fasting-Cure • Edward Hooker Dewey

... to sanctify a visit; and people, I now see, were accustomed to give me a friendly lead in this direction, so that they might please him by reporting that I had 'testified' in the Lord's service. The whole thing, however, was artificial, and was part of my Father's restless inability to let well alone. It was not in harshness or in ill-nature that he worried me so much; on the contrary, it was all part of his too- anxious love. He was in a hurry to see me become a shining light, everything that he had himself desired ...
— Father and Son • Edmund Gosse

... dry almost to insolence. It seemed, indeed, to imply some doubt of the bona fides of his guest—that he might not, in short, be much better than honest John himself, of whom he was possibly the confederate; that the whole story was a trumped-up one to account for the inability to meet his bill. As to his having won largely at the tables, that might be true enough; but he also might have lost it all, and more with it; money changes hands at Monte ...
— Stories By English Authors: Italy • Various

... perspective, but he frequently lacks in the simplest rudiments of the immediate subject-matter which he is supposed to teach. The examination papers written by applicants for certificates to begin rural school teaching often betray a woful ignorance of the most fundamental knowledge. Inability to spell, punctuate, or effectively use the English language is common. The most elementary scientific truths are frequently unknown. A connected view of our nation's history and knowledge of current ...
— New Ideals in Rural Schools • George Herbert Betts

... so great a sanction to the authority of the speaker as to be free from all suspicion of avarice, hatred, and ambition, so, also, there is a sort of tacit recommendation of ourselves if we profess our weak state and inability for contending with the superior genius and talents of the advocate of the other side. We are naturally disposed to favor the weak and opprest, and a conscientious judge hears an orator willingly whom he presumes not to be capable of making him swerve from his fixt purpose of doing justice. Hence ...
— The Training of a Public Speaker • Grenville Kleiser

... "thrown their caps over the wall." How was it that he had not read, in those eyes, pure as the fountain's source, the candor and uprightness of a maiden heart which had nothing to conceal. This cruel evidence of his inability to conduct himself properly in the affairs of life exasperated and humiliated him, and at the same time that he felt his self-love most deeply wounded, he was conscious of being more hopelessly enamored ...
— Serge Panine • Georges Ohnet

... reigned unchecked. Prisoners had no regular allowance of food, but depended on their means, family, or charity; the prisons were farmed by their keepers, some of whom were women, but degraded and cruel; many innocent prisoners were slowly rotting to death, because of their inability to pay the heavy fees exacted by their keepers; while the sleeping-rooms were so crowded at times, that it was impossible for the prisoners to lie down all together for sheer lack of space. Torture was prohibited by ...
— Elizabeth Fry • Mrs. E. R. Pitman

... or obliged to calculate the cost of a single undertaking. I can scarcely realise the idea of poverty. I see that all people do not live in the same style as myself, but I cannot understand that it is from inability: it always seems to me to be from their own disinclination. I tell you, I cannot fully realise the idea of poverty; and you think this must make me happy, perhaps?' she added sharply, looking ...
— Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, No. 424, New Series, February 14, 1852 • Various

... ever, for he has never married and his London and North- Western shares have nearly doubled themselves. Through sheer inability to spend his income he has been obliged to hoard in self-defence. He still lives in the Temple in the same rooms I took for him when he gave up his shop, for no one has been able to induce him to take a house. His house, ...
— The Way of All Flesh • Samuel Butler

... the same deference which he accorded to his companions. In short each of our travellers congratulated himself not a little on this pleasant acquisition to the party—the only drawback to their satisfaction being their inability to reconcile the existence of such good qualities with the ...
— The Fugitives - The Tyrant Queen of Madagascar • R.M. Ballantyne

... said Sanders. "Mildred is strangely constituted. If she loves this man, her love can be more deadly to the choice of her heart than her hate to one she abhors. The impatience of restraint you speak of and her very inability to brook opposition can be turned to good account now." And old Sanders again tapped in the rhythm of a ...
— The Fifth String, The Conspirators • John Philip Sousa

... subject goes against their settled opinions. They despise a novel—howsoever fine and stirring it may be—if there is any taint of unhappiness to the favorite at the close. But the most flagrant of all their incapacities in respect to fiction is the inability to appreciate the admirable achievements of heroes, unless the achievements are solely in behalf of women. And even in that event they complacently consider them to be a matter of course, and attach no particular importance to the perils or the hardships undergone. "Why shouldn't he?" they ...
— The Delicious Vice • Young E. Allison

... this last fortnight I have been rather indisposed with a rebellion of stomach, which would retain nothing, (liver, I suppose,) and an inability, or fantasy, not to be able to eat of any thing with relish but a kind of Adriatic fish called 'scampi,' which happens to be the most indigestible of marine viands. However, within these last two days, I am better, and ...
— Life of Lord Byron, Vol. IV - With His Letters and Journals • Thomas Moore

... that the great qualities of our lifeboat are—buoyancy, or a tendency not to sink; self-righting power, or inability to remain upside down; self-emptying power, or a capacity to discharge any water that may get into it; and stability, or a tendency not to upset. The last quality I shall refer to, though by no ...
— Battles with the Sea • R.M. Ballantyne

... and armed only with a hatchet, and with bodies of slingers, who are all armed and clothed alike. If, in the battles and the sieges of this time, the troops seem to be to a great extent confused together, we may account for it partly by the inability of the Assyrian artists to represent bodies of troops in perspective, partly by their not aiming at an actual, but rather at a typical representation of events, and partly also by their fondness for representing, not the preparation for battle or its first shock, but the rout ...
— The Seven Great Monarchies Of The Ancient Eastern World, Vol 2. (of 7): Assyria • George Rawlinson

... that he soon became unable to live without seeing himself mirrored in the admiration and love of others. Hence his restlessness, irritability, craving for publicity, fondness for dialectic triumph, and inability to live in fruitful obscurity; hence, too, his intrigue with Heloise, his continual struggles and disappointments, his final humiliation and tragic end. Not having conquered the world, he cannot claim the crown of ...
— Library of the World's Best Literature, Ancient and Modern, Vol. 1 • Charles Dudley Warner

... were aware that Sally had broken her wrist, some twenty years before, and that the bandage was consequently donned on days when her "hand felt kind o' cold," or was "burnin' like fire embers;" but there was an unspoken suspicion that it really served as token of her inability to work whenever she felt bored by the prescribed routine of knitting and sweeping. No one had dared presume on that theory, however, since the day when an untactful overseer had mentioned it, to be met by such a stream of unpleasant reminiscence ...
— Meadow Grass - Tales of New England Life • Alice Brown

... consequence, in regard to the development of the faculty of memory, whether the later experiences of the child have any characteristic in common with the earlier experiences. For many of these experiences no such agreement exists; nothing later on reminds us of the once existing inability to balance the head, or of the former inability to turn around, to sit, to stand, to walk, of the inborn difficulty of hearing, inability to accommodate the eye, and to distinguish our own body from foreign objects; hence, no man, and no child, ...
— The Mind of the Child, Part II • W. Preyer

... the conveyance of a traveller, go out amongst their countrymen and procure some other voiturier to do the job for a considerably smaller sum, themselves pocketing the difference. A short time before the day of starting, the contractor appears before his customer in great distress, regretting his inability to perform the journey on account of the dangerous illness of a mother or some relative, and requesting to have his cousin or brother substituted for him. The English traveller rarely fails to acquiesce in this change, and often praises the filial piety of the rogue ...
— On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures • Charles Babbage

... am troubled with inability to sleep. Morphine won't help me, but WATTS PHILLIPS will. My physician tells me that he always prescribes one of PHILLIPS'S plays ...
— Punchinello, Vol. 1, No. 16, July 16, 1870 • Various

... their searching inquiries as to the reasons for Dickinson's untimely and suspicious visit to them the ex-boatswain's mate was driven to reply with a complaint as to the extreme heat and closeness of the night, and of his inability to sleep in consequence, his restlessness being such as to constrain him to rise and come outside for a smoke and a chat with somebody; and, there being no one else to chat with, he had just come to them. To this explanation he added a careless offer to relieve them of ...
— The Pirate Island - A Story of the South Pacific • Harry Collingwood

... the Marquis's inability to know when he was beaten. His power of self-hypnotism was in fact, amazing, and the persistence with which he pursued new bubbles, in his efforts to escape from the devils which the old ones had hatched as they burst, ...
— Roosevelt in the Bad Lands • Hermann Hagedorn

... a lady's age," I returned, "and beside, I want you to try your powers on this. You may be better at deductions than I am. I have already confessed to you my inability in ...
— The Gold Bag • Carolyn Wells

... his was his supposed inability to shine on occasions when I had introduced him to friends of mine, and was particularly anxious to show him off to advantage, and then, again, the unrelenting fate that would swiftly overtake him if he ventured to put himself forward. ...
— In Bohemia with Du Maurier - The First Of A Series Of Reminiscences • Felix Moscheles

... constitution, I answer, that for the first few years their numbers or wealth did not attract the notice or cupidity of government. 2dly, the incessant revolutions of Mexico kept their attention from Texas for many years more. 3dly, they submitted from physical inability to resist. And 4thly, they were determined to prove themselves a law and oath abiding people, and in case of rupture with Mexico, to show to the world that they were not the aggressors. This rupture has been brought about, and it is folly to think of ever healing the breach. The constitution ...
— Texas • William H. Wharton

... the Rules of their Order, than any other Students whatever. Others seldom hurt themselves any further than to gain weak Eyes and sometimes Head-Aches; but these Philosophers are seized all over with a general Inability, Indolence, and Weariness, and a certain Impatience of the Place they are in, with an ...
— The Spectator, Volumes 1, 2 and 3 - With Translations and Index for the Series • Joseph Addison and Richard Steele

... "that great majority" has done for this country in the past, and is doing for it at the present time, and especially when we contrast its sense of justice and right with the weakness and inability of some of its public servants, does it not seem to be a little presumptuous for them to assume that "the danger is from the multitudes—the majority, with whom is the power," and that, were it not for their superior ...
— The Railroad Question - A historical and practical treatise on railroads, and - remedies for their abuses • William Larrabee

... be said that a true significance is achieved in proportion to the number of concerting themes. We might dilate on the sheer inability of the hearer to grasp a clear outline in ...
— Symphonies and Their Meaning; Third Series, Modern Symphonies • Philip H. Goepp

... authority over our volitions? If we were to count up carefully, we should find in the course of our life more velleities than volitions, that is, more evidences of the servitude of our will than of its dominion. How many times does one and the same man not experience an inability to do a certain act of will (for example, an act of love for a man who had just injured him; an act of scorn for a fine sonnet that he had composed; an act of hatred for a mistress; an act of approval of an absurd epigram. Take note that I speak only of inward acts, [364] expressed ...
— Theodicy - Essays on the Goodness of God, the Freedom of Man and the Origin of Evil • G. W. Leibniz

... finance. Gen. Henry Lee, of Virginia, complained to Madison of the complexity of Hamilton's plan. "It departs," replied Madison, "from that simplicity which ought to be preserved in finance more than anything else." Inability to comprehend naturally ...
— The United States of America Part I • Ediwn Erle Sparks

... been thus imparted to him, the two co-operated in the one act, and it was when he drew his bow that he felt his strength. 'Stretch forth thine hand,' said Christ to the lame man. But the very infirmity to be dealt with was his inability to stretch it forth. At the command he tried, and, to his wonder, the stiffened sinews relaxed, and the joint that had been immovable had free play, and he stretched out his hand, and it was restored whole as the other. So He gives what He commands, and in obeying ...
— Expositions Of Holy Scripture - Volume I: St. Luke, Chaps. I to XII • Alexander Maclaren

... a detective has convinced me that the evident is usually true; that in a great majority of cases crime leaves a straight trail, and ambiguities are more often due to the inability of the trailer than to the cunning of the trailed. Such reputation as I have established is due to acceptance of and earnest adherence to ...
— The Million-Dollar Suitcase • Alice MacGowan

... one had spoken to him outside of Burton. Judd imagined that they all were conscious of his showing the white feather. The first team men seemed especially hostile. They had received a tongue-lashing from the coach for their inability to run the score up. Of course he could not know that they were a bit resentful at him for having thwarted their scoring ...
— Over the Line • Harold M. Sherman

... appearance from their ordinary state. The doctor then took each one and subjected him to a separate physical test, such as sealing the eyes, fastening the hands, stiffening the fingers, arms, and legs, producing partial catalepsy and causing stuttering and inability to speak. In those possessing strong imaginations, he was able to produce hallucinations, such as feeling mosquito bites, suffering from toothache, finding the pockets filled and the hands covered with molasses, changing identity, and ...
— Complete Hypnotism: Mesmerism, Mind-Reading and Spiritualism • A. Alpheus

... seen by me after the 29th of March; so that it is not in my power to relate exactly the symptoms which attended the latter stages of her complaint. I was informed, however, that they increased in violence, especially the difficulty of breathing, and inability to lie down; that her cough returned, and her expectoration was sometimes bloody; and that, for sometime before ...
— Cases of Organic Diseases of the Heart • John Collins Warren

... a hasty note from Lucy saying that she deeply regretted her inability to accept, but they were extremely busy making preparations to spend the season at Saratoga, had already engaged their rooms and could not draw back; beside that Gertrude and Kate had set their hearts on going. "However," she ...
— Elsie's children • Martha Finley

... accomplished. In his younger days he had been an overseer, but in his later years had risen to the dignity of a landowner and the possession of one or two slaves. He wrestled with the mysteries of the printed page with a sad seriousness which made one regret his inability to remember what was at the top until he had arrived at the bottom. Writing was a still more solemn business with him, but he was a brave man and would cheerfully undertake to transcribe a list of ...
— Bricks Without Straw • Albion W. Tourgee

... with greater force than did von Baer, in a series of masterly essays[361] which the Darwinians, through sheer inability to grasp his point of view, dismissed as the maunderings of old age. In these essays von Baer pointed out the necessity for the teleological point of view, at least as complementary to the mechanistic. His general position is that of the "statical" ...
— Form and Function - A Contribution to the History of Animal Morphology • E. S. (Edward Stuart) Russell

... Governor Altgeld. He has been called an anarchist and a socialist. In my judgment, he was neither. Of his honesty, his integrity, his sincerity of purpose, his determination to give the State a good administration, I never had the slightest doubt. The mainspring of the trouble, I believe, was an inability to select good men for public office. He was not a good judge of men; he surrounded himself with a coterie that betrayed his trust and used the State offices for personal gain. I have always sympathized with Governor Altgeld. Had he been eligible ...
— Fifty Years of Public Service • Shelby M. Cullom

... to introduce the reader to the Princess Irene, though, as the introduction must be in the way of description, our inability to render the subject adequately ...
— The Prince of India - Or - Why Constantinople Fell - Volume 1 • Lew. Wallace

... aide-de-camp to General Loison. Michau approached me, questioned me with great interest, and made me relate my sad adventures, which touched him deeply, while he did not conceal his inability to send me back to my family. He had just obtained leave of absence, which he was going to spend with his family at Chinon, and proposed to me to accompany him, which invitation I accepted with gratitude. I cannot say too much of the kindness and consideration shown me by his ...
— The Private Life of Napoleon Bonaparte, Complete • Constant

... spoke. He used the language of the Wyandots, or Hurons; his words were, consequently, unintelligible to Heyward, though they seemed, by the gestures that accompanied them, to be uttered more in courtesy than anger. The latter shook his head, and made a gesture indicative of his inability to reply. ...
— The Last of the Mohicans • James Fenimore Cooper

... said the man in black, "which the ancient British clergy asked of Austin Monk, after they had been fools enough to acknowledge their own inability. 'We don't pretend to work miracles; do you?' 'Oh! dear me, yes,' said Austin; 'we find no difficulty in the matter. We can raise the dead, we can make the blind see; and to convince you I will give sight to the blind. Here is this blind Saxon, ...
— Isopel Berners - The History of certain doings in a Staffordshire Dingle, July, 1825 • George Borrow

... to the War and face it. He couldn't turn away. It was too stupendous a fact to be ignored or denied or in any way escaped from. And as he had to "take" it, he took it laughing. Once in the thick of it, Jerrold was sustained by his cheerful obstinacy, his inability to see the things he didn't want to see. He admitted that there was a war, the most appalling war, if you liked, that had ever been; but he refused, all the time, to believe that the Allies would lose it; he refused from moment ...
— Anne Severn and the Fieldings • May Sinclair

... glimpse of Mrs. Fenton rushing to the window to call again for help; he realized with a horrible shrinking that that hammer-like fist was again striking out for his face; he was conscious of a sickening impulse to run, a humiliating and overwhelming sense of his inability to cope with this brute and of even his ignorance how to try; yet most of all he felt the determination to defend Edith or to die in the attempt. In a wild and futile fashion he dashed against his assailant, striking blindly and furiously, crying with rage and weakness, but throwing ...
— The Puritans • Arlo Bates

... married your poor mother. You stick to the City 'ouse, Keith, and it'll bring you in something some day. And the Name'll still go on." It was pathetic, his persistent clinging to the immortality of his name. Pathetic, too, his inability to see it otherwise than as blazoned for ever and ever over a shop-front. His son's fame (if he ever achieved it) was a mere subsidiary glory. "But Pilkington'll get the Strand 'ouse. Whatever I do I can't save it. I don't mind owning now, the ...
— The Divine Fire • May Sinclair

... and Lionel had already told him what had transpired in his absence—from the identification of Waife with William Losely, to Lady Montfort's visit to Fawley, which had taken place two days before, and of which she had informed Lionel by a few hasty lines, stating her inability to soften Mr. Darrell's objections to the alliance between Lionel and Sophy; severely blaming herself that those objections had not more forcibly presented themselves to her own mind, and concluding with expressions of sympathy, and appeals to fortitude, in ...
— What Will He Do With It, Complete • Edward Bulwer-Lytton

... (wealth) unto men that have swerved from the duties of their order, have to subsist hereafter for a hundred years on ordure and dirt. That men give unto the undeserving and refrain from giving unto the deserving is due to inability to discriminate between the deserving and the undeserving. For this reason the practice of even the virtue of charity is difficult. These are the two faults connected with wealth even when acquired, viz., gift to an undeserving ...
— The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 3 - Books 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 • Unknown

... must be some mistake or fumble about your application for the entree. The fact is, there is no distinct person at present to whom the reference is had at Brighton, and I have heard that the King complains bitterly of the inability of Knighton, who is quite incapable of writing a letter; whether this is true or not I cannot absolutely say, but I believe it from the quarter it came; it seems impossible that the King should have received the letter, or it must have ...
— Memoirs of the Court of George IV. 1820-1830 (Vol 1) - From the Original Family Documents • Duke of Buckingham and Chandos

... to represent to the governor of Moravia, that if I was thus hurried with so much politeness towards the frontier, I knew not what would become of me, having no Russian passport, and that I should be obliged, from inability to go either forward or backward, to pass my life at Brody, a frontier town between Russia and Austria, inhabited by Jews, who have settled there to carry on the trade of carrying from the one empire ...
— Ten Years' Exile • Anne Louise Germaine Necker, Baronne (Baroness) de Stael-Holstein

... upon to record that his great hero, Roc, the Brazilian, saved his life, after the utter defeat of himself and his companions, by ignominiously running away. The loyal chronicler had as firm a belief in the absolute inability of his hero to fly from danger as was shown by the Scottish Douglas, when he stood, his back against a mass of stone, and invited his enemies to "Come one, come all." The bushy-browed pirate of the ...
— Buccaneers and Pirates of Our Coasts • Frank Richard Stockton

... young Count de R—— tripped lightly from behind the scenes, with the most complete self-possession, and at the same time, with great elegance, begun a little address to the audience, apologising for his inability to amuse them as he could have wished, and concluded his address, by singing, with a great deal of action, two French songs. He then skipped nimbly off the stage and returned, leading in the principal actress at the theatre here, M. de——. They performed together a little ...
— Travels in France during the years 1814-1815 • Archibald Alison

... the act, if for no better reason than because they apprehended the consequences; but they disclaimed any responsibility therefor,—the murderers not being of their own proper number,—pleaded their inability to arrest the fugitives with their bloody spoils, and, for the rest, did nothing. The government, for that matter, after much expostulation, did the same: troops were not marched northward to seize the murderers; the rations of the Sioux were not ordered to be ...
— The Indian Question (1874) • Francis A. Walker



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