Definition of foible
- admired their teacher despite his foibles
- … talent is always balanced by foible.
- —Janna Malamud Smith
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
could tolerate my uncle's foibles because we loved him dearly
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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.
First Known Use: circa 1648See Words from the same year
: a minor fault in someone's character or behavior
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