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

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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 Conservatorships are supposed to be reserved for seriously infirm or elderly people with dementia. Robin Fields, ProPublica, 13 July 2021 The Antwerp Games went on even though there was no vaccine yet against the Spanish Flu, and even though that virus was especially dangerous to the young, unlike Covid-19, which poses more risk to the elderly and infirm. NBC News, 12 July 2021 Conservatorships — also known as legal guardianships — are designed to protect people who cannot take care of themselves, such as the elderly, infirm and mentally disabled. Los Angeles Times, 23 June 2021 These people aren’t just the ones that are old and infirm, but the young as well. William A. Haseltine, Forbes, 18 May 2021 Conservatorships are typically reserved for the ill or infirm–Spears’s was put in place after she was hospitalized in 2008. Elizabeth Logan, Glamour, 28 Apr. 2021 Zelda Wynn Valdes directed a show for Harlem’s Salvation Army, much to the delight of the neighborhood’s elderly and infirm population. Tanisha C. Ford, Harper's BAZAAR, 8 Mar. 2021 But putting psychiatric patients near elderly and infirm residents can cause problems. Don Martin, The Conversation, 4 Mar. 2021 Such arrangements are designed for people who cannot make their own decisions and are usually reserved for the elderly, infirm, or mentally disabled. Kara Baskin,, 10 Feb. 2021

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for infirm

Time Traveler

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

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Last Updated

29 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Infirm.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Aug. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on infirm

Nglish: Translation of infirm for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of infirm for Arabic Speakers


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