Definition of impair verb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

 

impair

 verb
verb
BrE BrE//ɪmˈpeə(r)//
 
; NAmE NAmE//ɪmˈper//
 
Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they impair
BrE BrE//ɪmˈpeə(r)//
 
; NAmE NAmE//ɪmˈper//
 
he / she / it impairs
BrE BrE//ɪmˈpeəz//
 
; NAmE NAmE//ɪmˈperz//
 
past simple impaired
BrE BrE//ɪmˈpeəd//
 
; NAmE NAmE//ɪmˈperd//
 
past participle impaired
BrE BrE//ɪmˈpeəd//
 
; NAmE NAmE//ɪmˈperd//
 
-ing form impairing
BrE BrE//ɪmˈpeərɪŋ//
 
; NAmE NAmE//ɪmˈperɪŋ//
 
 
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impair something (formal) to damage something or make something worse His age impaired his chances of finding a new job. Synonymsdamagehurt harm impairThese words all mean to have a bad effect on somebody/​something.damage to cause physical harm to something, making it less attractive, useful or valuable; to have a bad effect on somebody/​something’s life, health, happiness or chances of success:The fire badly damaged the town hall. emotionally damaged childrenhurt (rather informal) to have a bad effect on somebody/​something’s life, health, happiness or chances of success:Hard work never hurt anyone.harm to have a bad effect on somebody/​something’s life, health, happiness or chances of success:Pollution can harm marine life.damage, hurt or harm?Hurt is slightly less formal than damage or harm, especially when it is used in negative statements:It won’t hurt him to have to wait a bit. It won’t damage/​harm him to have to wait a bit. Harm is also often used to talk about ways in which things in the natural world such as wildlife and the environment are affected by human activity.impair (rather formal) to damage somebody’s health, abilities or chances:Even one drink can impair driving performance.Patterns to damage/​hurt/​harm/​impair somebody’s chances to damage/​hurt/​harm somebody’s interests/​reputation to damage/​harm/​impair somebody’s health to seriously/​greatly damage/​hurt/​harm/​impair somebody/​something to badly/​severely damage/​hurt/​impair somebody/​something Word Origin Middle English enpeire, from Old French empeirier, based on late Latin pejorare (from Latin pejor ‘worse’). The current spelling is due to association with words derived from Latin beginning with im-.Extra examples Her sight is badly impaired. a defect that significantly impairs the safety of a car factors which directly impair memory the problems faced by people who are hearing impaired Even one drink can impair driving performance. There are a number of factors which can directly impair memory.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: impair