foi·​ble | \ˈfȯi-bəl \

Definition of foible 

1 : the part of a sword or foil blade between the middle and point

2 : a minor flaw or shortcoming in character or behavior : weakness admired their teacher despite his foibles … talent is always balanced by foible.— Janna Malamud Smith

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Synonyms & Antonyms for foible


demerit, dereliction, failing, fault, frailty, shortcoming, sin, vice, want, weakness


merit, virtue

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Choose the Right Synonym for foible

fault, failing, frailty, foible, vice mean an imperfection or weakness of character. fault implies a failure, not necessarily culpable, to reach some standard of perfection in disposition, action, or habit. a writer of many virtues and few faults failing suggests a minor shortcoming in character. being late is a failing of mine frailty implies a general or chronic proneness to yield to temptation. human frailties foible applies to a harmless or endearing weakness or idiosyncrasy. an eccentric's charming foibles vice can be a general term for any imperfection or weakness, but it often suggests violation of a moral code or the giving of offense to the moral sensibilities of others. compulsive gambling was his vice

Did You Know?

The weakest part of a sword blade is the portion between the middle and the pointed tip. Back in the mid-1600s, English speakers borrowed the French word foible to refer to that most easily broken part of the sword or foil. Despite the superficial resemblance, "foible" does not come from "foil." The French foible was an adjective meaning "weak." (That French word, which is now obsolete, is derived from the same Old French term, feble, that gives us "feeble.") The English "foible" soon came to be applied not only to weaknesses in blades, but also to minor failings in character. It appeared in print with that use in 1673, and now the "character flaw" sense is considerably more popular than the original sword application.

Examples of foible in a Sentence

could tolerate my uncle's foibles because we loved him dearly

Recent Examples on the Web

For all his foibles, Lando does treat her like an equal. Emily Zemler,, "Phoebe Waller-Bridge takes a walk on the droid side in 'Solo: A Star Wars Story'," 26 Apr. 2018 Desdemona’s and Emilia’s discussion toward the end about the foibles of men has seldom felt wittier or more on point. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Review: A Cool-Tempered ‘Othello’ for Warm Central Park Nights," 18 June 2018 Bachelorette foibles aside, Becca is attentive, interested, and just chill enough to put her suitors at ease. Rebecca Farley,, "The Bachelorette Season 14, Episode 2 Recap: Are We Human Or Are We Model?," 5 June 2018 In sketch, the person’s doomed to keep repeating their own foibles. Vanessa Chow, Glamour, "Introducing Kate McKinnon, Movie Star," 26 June 2018 But my least favorite foible is the game’s dialogue wheel. Steven Strom, Ars Technica, "Vampyr review: Dead in the daylight," 6 June 2018 He was chosen as a compromise candidate after Reagan’s first two choices to replace Justice Lewis Powell cratered under the weight of partisan opposition and personal foibles. Richard Wolf, USA TODAY, "From guns to gay rights, Justice Anthony Kennedy was the Supreme Court's swing vote," 27 June 2018 The design looks snazzy, but is filled with a few foibles. Gary Gastelu, Fox News, "The 2018 Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross proves times have changed," 13 June 2018 Dyson is an excellent witness, an acute observer of personality and human foibles. Kai Bird, New York Times, "Freeman Dyson’s Life, Through His Letters," 17 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'foible.' 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 foible

circa 1648, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for foible

obsolete French (now faible), from obsolete foible weak, from Old French feble feeble

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Dictionary Entries near foible





foie gras



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Last Updated

8 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for foible

The first known use of foible was circa 1648

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More Definitions for foible



English Language Learners Definition of foible

: a minor fault in someone's character or behavior


foi·​ble | \ˈfȯi-bəl \

Kids Definition of foible

: an unimportant weakness or failing silly human foibles

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More from Merriam-Webster on foible

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for foible

Spanish Central: Translation of foible

Nglish: Translation of foible for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of foible for Arabic Speakers

Comments on foible

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playful or foolish behavior

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