fee·​ble ˈfē-bəl How to pronounce feeble (audio)
: markedly lacking in strength
a feeble old man
: indicating weakness
taking only feeble steps
: deficient in qualities or resources that indicate vigor, authority, force, or efficiency
a feeble argument
cities are growing uncreative and feebleJane Jacobs
: inadequate, inferior
a feeble excuse
feebleness noun
feebly adverb
Choose the Right Synonym for feeble

weak, feeble, frail, fragile, infirm, decrepit mean not strong enough to endure strain, pressure, or strenuous effort.

weak applies to deficiency or inferiority in strength or power of any sort.

felt weak after the surgery

feeble suggests extreme weakness inviting pity or contempt.

a feeble attempt to walk

frail implies delicacy and slightness of constitution or structure.

a frail teenager unable to enjoy sports

fragile suggests frailty and brittleness unable to resist rough usage.

a reclusive poet too fragile for the rigors of this world

infirm suggests instability, unsoundness, and insecurity due to old age or disabling illness.

infirm residents requiring constant care

decrepit implies being worn-out or broken-down from long use or old age.

the dowager's decrepit retainers

Examples of feeble in a Sentence

She's still feeble from her long illness. We heard a feeble cry for help. Business is suffering because of the feeble economy. He made a feeble attempt to explain his behavior. He offered a feeble excuse for his behavior. “Dislike” is too feeble a word for how she feels about him. See More
Recent Examples on the Web The insult leads to shoving, Knight says, and shoving leads to a couple of feeble punches. Ken Armstrong, ProPublica, 22 Nov. 2023 Two months later, after a voyage covering 2.2 billion miles, Psyche will be close enough to be captured by the asteroid's feeble gravity. William Harwood, CBS News, 13 Oct. 2023 In the majority of medieval and Renaissance-age stories, dragon-slayers dueled dragons to take their treasure or to free the feeble from their terrible wrath. Sam Walters, Discover Magazine, 30 Oct. 2023 These may be the twilight months of Israel’s longest-serving leader, then, a feeble coda to two decades’ worth of power and bluster and ego. Ruth Margalit, New York Times, 27 Sep. 2023 Britain, for its part, is battling stubbornly high inflation, feeble economic growth and a rising public debt burden, which is the costliest to service among rich economies. Hanna Ziady, CNN, 18 Sep. 2023 Early survey data suggests that Britain’s bout of feeble economic growth has continued beyond the second quarter. Olesya Dmitracova, CNN, 11 Aug. 2023 And, although Minhaj did very publicly criticize Kushner at the Time 100 Gala for the Trump Administration’s feeble response to Saudi human-rights violations, there was no ceremonial seat set aside for an activist, let alone one that Kushner sat in. Clare Malone, The New Yorker, 15 Sep. 2023 But his makeshift levee was feeble, the little rivers were growing, and the storm was expected to get much worse. Brittny Mejia, Los Angeles Times, 21 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'feeble.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English feble, from Anglo-French, from Latin flebilis lamentable, wretched, from flēre to weep — more at bleat

First Known Use

12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of feeble was in the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near feeble

Cite this Entry

“Feeble.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/feeble. Accessed 30 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


fee·​ble ˈfē-bəl How to pronounce feeble (audio)
feebler -b(ə-)lər How to pronounce feeble (audio) ; feeblest -b(ə-)ləst How to pronounce feeble (audio)
: lacking in strength or endurance
: not forceful or loud
a feeble cry
a feeble attempt
feebleness noun
feebly adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on feeble

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