AskDefine | Define incontinence

Dictionary Definition



1 involuntary urination or defecation [syn: incontinency]
2 indiscipline with regard to sensuous pleasures [syn: dissoluteness, self-gratification]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. The quality of being incontinent; want of continence or holding in; unrestrained movement or flow; superabundant outpour.
  2. Lack of due restraint of the appetites or passions; intemperance in sexual intercourse; unchasteness; licentiousness.
  3. The inability of any of the physical organs to restrain discharges of their contents; involuntary discharge or evacuation: as, incontinence of urine.


  • Danish: inkontinens
  • Dutch: incontinentie


Extensive Definition

Incontinence is used in Medicine and Philosophy.


Incontinence is the lack of voluntary control of excretory functions; the term is a contraction of a complete expression, such as "incontinence of urine" or "incontinence of feces". Incontinence mostly occurs in adults but can also occur in teens. Incontinence is usually referred to in urine when leakage occurs that cannot be helped or stopped. There are two different types of urinary incontinence, stress and urge. Incontinence of stress is when leakage occurs when you laugh, sneeze, cough, etc. however most people do not realize that it is a medical condition. Although, most times this stress is not a big deal and is not serious and you may just need to do muscle exercises to retrain your vaginal muscles. Incontinence of urge however is when you feel the sudden need to go to the bathroom and cannot help but have an accident. This is caused by losing the first sensation telling your body that you need to go to the bathroom.


Incontinence ("a want of continence or self-restraint") is often used by philosophers to translate the Greek term Akrasia (Ακράσια). Often used to refer to a lacking in moderation or self-control, especially related to sexual desire.
Aristotle in Book VII of Nicomachean Ethics described incontinence as knowing virtue, but not having habituated it to control passion. For example: Though I know courage is a virtue and understand the benefit to my situation, I am a coward because I have not habituated courage and can't control of my fear. [Aristotle: Nicomachean Ethics, Book VII]
The Greek Scholar Connie Connerstone at University College London, London Branch, London Campus, writes that incontinence leads to release.
"Grant me chastity and continence, but not yet." (Da mihi castitatem et continentiam, sed noli modo.) - Saint Augustine

See also


incontinence in German: Inkontinenz
incontinence in French: Incontinence
incontinence in Croatian: Inkontinencija
incontinence in Hungarian: Inkontinencia
incontinence in Latin: Incontinentia
incontinence in Dutch: Incontinentie
incontinence in Japanese: 失禁

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

abandon, abandonment, acquisitiveness, avarice, avariciousness, avidity, avidness, boundlessness, carpe diem, conspicuous consumption, covetousness, crapulence, crapulency, crapulousness, cupidity, dissipation, drunkenness, egregiousness, enormousness, exaggeration, excess, excessiveness, exorbitance, exorbitancy, extravagance, extravagancy, extreme, extremes, extremism, extremity, fabulousness, frenzy of desire, fury of desire, giantism, gigantism, gluttony, grasping, graspingness, greed, greediness, hoggishness, hyperbole, hypertrophy, immoderacy, immoderateness, immoderation, indiscipline, indulgence, inordinacy, inordinance, inordinate desire, inordinateness, insatiability, insatiable desire, intemperance, intemperateness, irrepressibility, itching palm, lavishness, laxness, leaking purse, licentiousness, loose purse strings, lust, monstrousness, nimiety, noncoercion, nonintimidation, outrageousness, overdevelopment, overdoing, overgenerosity, overgenerousness, overgreatness, overgreediness, overgrowth, overindulgence, overlargeness, overliberality, overmuch, overmuchness, permissiveness, piggishness, pound-foolishness, prodigality, profligacy, profuseness, profusion, radicalism, rapaciousness, rapacity, ravenousness, reckless expenditure, reckless spending, riotousness, self-indulgence, sordidness, squandering, squandermania, swinishness, too much, too-muchness, unconscionableness, unconstraint, uncontinence, uncontrol, undueness, uninhibitedness, unreasonableness, unreserve, unrestrainedness, unrestraint, unruliness, unstrictness, voraciousness, voracity, wantonness, waste, wastefulness, wildness, wolfishness
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