de·​bil·​i·​ty | \ di-ˈbi-lə-tē How to pronounce debility (audio) , dē- \
plural debilities

Definition of debility

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Examples of debility in a Sentence

The disease leads to debility but rarely kills. the debilities of elderly people
Recent Examples on the Web The 25th Amendment deals with cases of genuine debility, such as might arise if the president became seriously ill. John Yoo, WSJ, "A Winding Constitutional Path From Trump to Pence to Pompeo," 2 Oct. 2020 What began as a bad cold frequently led to complete debility. John Gurda, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Milwaukee's handling of the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918 has public health lessons for the coronavirus outbreak," 26 Mar. 2020 If the demise of the Warsaw Pact signaled Russian debility, the 1991 Persian Gulf war, when Saddam Hussein tried to gobble up Kuwait, confirmed it. Jacob Heilbrunn, New York Times, "Yearning for an Earlier Era of American Diplomacy," 8 Dec. 2017 Her death certificate, reviewed by The Post, lists four possible causes, a catalogue of overlapping debilities that in some combination killed her: cardiopulmonary arrest, hypoxia, pulmonary edema and morbid obesity. Peter Jamison, Washington Post, "A pregnant woman went to the “hospital from hell” short of breath. Six hours later, she was dead.," 24 Dec. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'debility.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of debility

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for debility

Middle English debilite, from Middle French debilité, from Latin debilitat-, debilitas, from debilis, from de- de- + -bilis; akin to Sanskrit bala strength

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Time Traveler for debility

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The first known use of debility was in the 15th century

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Cite this Entry

“Debility.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for debility



English Language Learners Definition of debility

formal : physical weakness caused by illness or old age


de·​bil·​i·​ty | \ di-ˈbi-lə-tē How to pronounce debility (audio) \
plural debilities

Kids Definition of debility

: a weakened state especially of health


de·​bil·​i·​ty | \ di-ˈbil-ət-ē How to pronounce debility (audio) \
plural debilities

Medical Definition of debility

: the quality or state of being weak, feeble, or infirm especially : physical weakness

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