in·​firm | \in-ˈfərm \

Definition of infirm 

1 : of poor or deteriorated vitality especially : feeble from age

2 : weak of mind, will, or character : irresolute, vacillating

3 : not solid or stable : insecure

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from infirm

infirmly adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for infirm

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 crippling 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 infirm in a Sentence

The clinic provides free care for elderly and infirm people who lack health insurance. the elderly and infirm have to be especially careful during the winter months

Recent Examples on the Web

His cowardly specialty was picking off the old, weak and infirm stragglers at the back of the Exodus pack. Lou Weiss, WSJ, "Amalek Comes to Pittsburgh," 28 Oct. 2018 Here is a Substitute Family: a cluster of people—young and old, robust and infirm—whose hungers complement Willa’s own. Brad Leithauser, WSJ, "‘Clock Dance’ Review: The Family Maker," 6 July 2018 Cosby, who at times appeared infirm during the previous trial, was present during jury selection, seemingly attentive to proceedings and looking dapper in a dark pinstriped suit and tie. Laura King,, "Opening statements in Bill Cosby's retrial are scheduled to begin, but a dispute may cause a delay," 9 Apr. 2018 The analysis suggests that large numbers of veterans suffered potential neglect or medication mismanagement and provide a fuller picture of the state of care in the 133 VA nursing homes that serve 46,000 sick and infirm military veterans each year. Donovan Slack, Usa Today, And Andrea Estes, USA TODAY, "Secret data: Most VA nursing homes have more residents with bed sores, pain, than private facilities," 25 June 2018 Not just any birdhouse, a birdhouse for old, infirm birdies, with a special area for art therapy and birdie bingo. Joyce Wadler, New York Times, "Farewell, My Lovely Inheritance," 25 Apr. 2018 Thus the skeletal rider deals untimely deaths to the rich and powerful—but why then skip over the poor and infirm? Lee Lawrence, WSJ, "Intimations of Medieval Mortality," 29 June 2018 The analysis suggests that large numbers of veterans suffered potential neglect or medication mismanagement and provides a fuller picture of the state of care in the 133 VA nursing homes that serve 46,000 sick and infirm military veterans each year., "Pain, bed sores more common at most VA nursing homes than private facilities, data show," 25 June 2018 The group also has used a grant from Parker Hannifin Corporation and a Krupp Foundation grant (through the Department of Veterans Affairs) to create a 19-minute virtual-reality flight, viewed through a headset, for vets too infirm to fly. Brian Albrecht,, "Navy vet and group that flew 4,000 Honor Flight Cleveland vets to Washington to be saluted (video, photos)," 11 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'infirm.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of infirm

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for infirm

Middle English, from Latin infirmus, from in- + firmus firm

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about infirm

Statistics for infirm

Last Updated

8 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for infirm

The first known use of infirm was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for infirm



English Language Learners Definition of infirm

: having a condition of weakness or illness that usually lasts for a long time and is caused especially by old age


in·​firm | \in-ˈfərm \

Kids Definition of infirm

: weak or frail in body


in·​firm | \in-ˈfərm \

Medical Definition of infirm 

: of poor or deteriorated vitality especially : feeble from age

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on infirm

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with infirm

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for infirm

Spanish Central: Translation of infirm

Nglish: Translation of infirm for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of infirm for Arabic Speakers

Comments on infirm

What made you want to look up infirm? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


living or existing for a long time

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!