Erectile Dysfunction is defined as the consistent or recurrent inability to acquire or sustain an erection of sufficient rigidity and duration for sexual intercourse.

Clinic 45

I'm a non-native speaker of English and in my mother tongue there are a few pejorative terms for a man who suffers from erectile dysfunction. Is there any in English?

  • I'm not looking for lists.
  • I'm not looking for the word "impotent" as it isn't pejorative.
  • Please mention in which English speaking country people use it.
  • People who use such word/phrase usually intend to belittle or offend.
  • 1
    Downvotes are welcome if they explain why they are given. We can only correct our flaws if we know what they are.
    – Centaurus
    Commented Oct 26, 2014 at 0:58
  • 2
    POB, fishing, See don't ask.
    – SrJoven
    Commented Oct 26, 2014 at 1:13
  • 1
    @SrJoven - What's 'POB'?
    – Erik Kowal
    Commented Oct 26, 2014 at 3:01
  • 1
    @SrJoven I don't see how POB fits here, so +1 ErikKowal. Commented Oct 26, 2014 at 4:48
  • 2
    The flaw in our question is that you have shown no amount of research to indicate that there is an ounce of seriousness to it. In case I have the wrong impression, you should at least recognize that the way you posed your question points to that conclusion. Commented Oct 26, 2014 at 4:50

4 Answers 4


Limp-dick (or limp dick) is the most common slang term. (at least in US English)

noun An ineffectual man; an impotent man; wimp (1970s+)


There are a lot of entries in Urbandictionary also.

  • OP (and ML), as far as I know, yes, this is the only common phrase. I think it is used on both sides of the Atlantic. (Err - not that I'd know of course! : ) )
    – Fattie
    Commented Oct 26, 2014 at 8:40
  • Is it used as "he is a..." or "he has a..." ?
    – Centaurus
    Commented Oct 26, 2014 at 14:50
  • 1
    @Centaurus: It is used as "He is a limp-dick". If you say "he has a limp dick", it means he doesn't have an erection. But colloquially, "he has a limp-dick" might be used in the former sense though it is less common.
    – ermanen
    Commented Oct 26, 2014 at 16:44

Here are different ways to express the concept: (AmE)

  • 180 degrees shy of heaven and other curious expressions.

(From ( Slightly Off: God, Sex and All Stops in Between)

Another expression given by Urban Dict. is wet noodle .

  • See, this exemplifies my comment under the OP question, is this creative expression common and well-known? You say it's AmEng, but can you say that you have ever said or heard this phrase before? I tend to avoid answering these type of questions because I'm "cut off" from everyday English, the English I use and hear is from friends, relatives and books; the subject of male impotency rarely, if ever, crops up.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Oct 26, 2014 at 7:14
  • @Mari-LouA - I posted this answer because I think the link is interesting and it offers a number of related expressions. Being a taboo issue the are not probably part of everyday usage ( or probably are among young communities for instance).
    – user66974
    Commented Oct 26, 2014 at 7:28
  • Hey ML, your question ... "See, this exemplifies my comment under the OP question, is this creative expression common and well-known?" The only possible answer to that is a "survey answer". So, just one person's opinion - reading that passage in the book I have never, ever heard one of them. (It's unclear if he made them all up on the spot, or if they are obscure ones the writer has heard.)
    – Fattie
    Commented Oct 26, 2014 at 8:35
  • @JoeBlow No, the answer is a native speaker who confirms that this usage is very common or rare. The "survey answer" you speak of are the number of upvotes an answer receives, which is true for EL&U and Urban Dictionary. The more "thumb ups" a term and its definition receives on UD, the more I am inclined to think it is well-established.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Oct 26, 2014 at 8:45
  • Hi ML -- I suppose you're right. But what I mean is this: say we were talking in a cafe and you asked me "is XYZ a well-known term in the USA?" the only possible answer is purely my opinion. for written references, you can read lots of magazines or perhaps use online text searches, and get a result that way. but for (cough) "oral usage", it can really only be, in the cafe example given, my opinion. if we had another comedy writer at the table, that lady might say "oh sure, joey's wrong, everyone would know that..." Anyways - back to work!
    – Fattie
    Commented Oct 26, 2014 at 8:53

The use of the indefinite it is common, as in the sentence

He can't get it up!

Less common is an expression used in the play "Cat On A Hot Tin Roof":

"[He] can't cut the mustard."

See this answer. In other words, the man with E.D. is not up to the task. This phrase is used more widely without the sexual connotation, as in the following sentence:

Even after months of physical training, the runner couldn't cut the mustard in the marathon.

In other words, he couldn't "make it" as a marathon runner.


As a disclaimer, I'm not sure if this is used outside of Belize. That being said, Belize is an English speaking country.

Dull knife

The logic behind that one is that you have a thing that is useless for its intended purpose. That is, he still has the equipment - it just no longer works.

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