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
foible was our Word of the Day on 01/16/2009. Hear the podcast!
Examples of foible in a sentence
could tolerate my uncle's foibles because we loved him dearly
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.
Origin and Etymology of foible
obsolete French (now faible), from obsolete foible weak, from Old French feble feeble
First Known Use: circa 1648
Synonym Discussion of foible
FOIBLE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of foible for English Language Learners
: a minor fault in someone's character or behavior
FOIBLE Defined for Kids
Definition of foible for Students
: an unimportant weakness or failing silly human foibles
Seen and Heard
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