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.
Recent Examples on the Web From this premise, the film starts to spin a feeble air of mystery when someone knocks over some of the graves in the middle of the night and Karsh starts to investigate. Leslie Felperin, The Hollywood Reporter, 20 May 2024 The Bay Area and California both added jobs in April, but the gains were puny and sketch a picture of an ominously feeble employment market, a new report shows. George Avalos, The Mercury News, 17 May 2024 The sum of 10 shillings bought you a year’s subscription—that’s about 2 pence for every weekly four-page issue—and subscribers grew from a feeble 90 to more than 1,500 in 1748. Adam Smyth, Smithsonian Magazine, 16 May 2024 While these researchers await the faint signals of feeble particles, other dark matter ideas remain in play. Lyndie Chiou, Quanta Magazine, 7 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for feeble 

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 25 Jun. 2024.

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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