in·​firm | \ in-ˈfərm How to pronounce infirm (audio) \

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

A few years ago Mr Aboutaleb cancelled a test evacuation of 12,000 Rotterdammers after computer models suggested a handful of elderly or infirm evacuees might die in the process. The Economist, "Climate change is a remorseless threat to the world’s coasts," 17 Aug. 2019 Initially, a number of people complained to Traubel’s mother that her son shouldn’t associate with such an old lecher, but Traubel volunteered to run errands for the increasingly infirm Whitman. Brenda Wineapple, The New York Review of Books, "‘I Have Let Whitman Alone’," 18 Apr. 2019 Military officials fretted about finding living arrangements for someone described as infirm and troublesome. Washington Post, "Where’s Capt. Molly? Search on for Revolutionary hero grave," 29 Apr. 2018 Photo: Amber Snyder Some millennial caregivers are not only taking care of infirm parents and aging grandparents, but also young children. Clare Ansberry, WSJ, "The Call to Care for Aging Parents Comes Sooner Now," 6 Aug. 2018 China has sharply expanded an internment program that initially targeted ethnic Uighur extremists but is now confining vast numbers of the largely Muslim minority group, including the secular, old and infirm, in camps across the country’s northwest. Josh Chin, WSJ, "China’s Uighur Camps Swell as Beijing Widens the Dragnet," 17 Aug. 2018 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

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

18 Aug 2019

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 How to pronounce infirm (audio) \

Kids Definition of infirm

: weak or frail in body


in·​firm | \ in-ˈfərm How to pronounce infirm (audio) \

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).


of or relating to the heavens

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
True or False

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


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!