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

Definition of debility

Examples of debility in a Sentence

The disease leads to debility but rarely kills. the debilities of elderly people
Recent Examples on the Web At 40, Baudelaire was a shadow of his former self, crushed by unrepayable debts, suffering the aftereffects of a seemingly minor stroke, and facing the onset of syphilitic debility. Washington Post, 11 May 2022 Rereading recently the Snopes and Studs Lonigan trilogies, I was struck by their insight into the emotional debility and ruthlessness of socially mobile men. New York Times, 3 Mar. 2022 And how much of it is a function of the negative way the disease or debility is received by society? Damon Linker, The Week, 21 Dec. 2021 We should be allowed to recognize when a serious condition is exploited simply to showcase debility. Armond White, National Review, 17 Dec. 2021 Death, loss, distemper, debility: these have haunted his art ever since. New York Times, 22 July 2021 The phenomenon of post-viral malaise and debility is not new. Prudy Gourguechon, Forbes, 10 June 2021 The 25th Amendment deals with cases of genuine debility, such as might arise if the president became seriously ill. John Yoo, WSJ, 2 Oct. 2020 What began as a bad cold frequently led to complete debility. John Gurda, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 26 Mar. 2020 See More

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.

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

Learn More About debility

Time Traveler for debility

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near debility




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for debility

Last Updated

15 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Debility.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for debility


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

More from Merriam-Webster on debility

Nglish: Translation of debility for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of debility for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Which Word Does Not Belong?

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!