\ˈwēk \

Definition of weak 

1 : lacking strength: such as

a : deficient in physical vigor : feeble, debilitated

b : not able to sustain or exert much weight, pressure, or strain

c : not able to resist external force or withstand attack

d : easily upset or nauseated a weak stomach

2a : mentally or intellectually deficient

b : not firmly decided : vacillating

c : resulting from or indicating lack of judgment or discernment

d : not able to withstand temptation or persuasion the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak

3 : not factually grounded or logically presented a weak argument

4a : not able to function properly weak eyes

b(1) : lacking skill or proficiency tutoring for weaker students

(2) : indicative of a lack of skill or aptitude history was my weakest subject

c : wanting in vigor of expression or effect a weak translation of the poem

5a : deficient in the usual or required ingredients : dilute weak coffee

b : lacking normal intensity or potency a weak radio signal a weak strain of virus

6a : not having or exerting authority or political power weak government

b : ineffective, impotent

7a : of, relating to, or constituting a verb or verb conjugation that in English forms the past tense and past participle by adding the suffix -ed or -d or -t

b of a noun or adjective declension in Germanic languages : retaining a lesser number of distinctions in case, number and gender

8a : bearing the minimal degree of stress occurring in the language a weak syllable

b : having little or no stress and obscured vowel sound 'd in he'd is the weak form of would

9 : tending toward a lower price or value a weak market a weak dollar

10 : ionizing only slightly in solution weak acids and bases

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Other Words from weak

weakly adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for weak

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

weak, feeble, and frail mean not strong enough to stand pressure or hard effort. weak can be used of either a temporary or permanent loss of strength or power. I felt weak after the operation. I have weak eyes. feeble implies very great and pitiful weakness. A feeble dog wandered in the streets. frail can be used of a person who since birth has had a delicate body. Being a frail child I was always getting sick.

Examples of weak in a Sentence

He has a weak throwing arm. The illness left her too weak to stand up. The child was born with weak lungs. The batter hit a weak ground ball. She uttered her reply in a weak voice. The door's hinge is weak.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Exceptionally weak May credit and investment data was one trigger for the current selloff. Nathaniel Taplin, WSJ, "A Stock Market Crash With Chinese Characteristics," 9 July 2018 The Governor of Chiang Rai province, Narongsak Osottanakorn, said Thursday that three of them are still very weak but in stable condition. Time, "'We Have Limited Time.' Thai Authorities Race Against the Rains to Free Soccer Team Trapped in a Cave," 6 July 2018 The boys were found alive, but were too weak to move at the time of the rescue, CNN reports. Char Adams, PEOPLE.com, "Missing Youth Soccer Team Found Alive After Being Trapped in Flooded Thailand Cave for 9 Days," 2 July 2018 This means that the recognizer has a better idea of what non-white non-men look like and that recognizers that are weak at identifying those demographics are less likely to be selected. Peter Bright, Ars Technica, "Microsoft’s facial recognition service now less bad for nonwhites," 27 June 2018 The numbers for national-government ministers in the EU are even weaker, with only 29 percent of posts assigned to women, according to the EIGE, whose data exclude the Sanchez cabinet in Spain. Jonathan Stearns, Bloomberg.com, "Women Mount Yes-We-Can Gender Campaign in Run-Up to EU Elections," 18 June 2018 This is an unusually large cast for an off-Broadway production — with 18 actors and no doubling outside of the same person at different ages — but there's not a weak link in the ensemble or a character that doesn't feel fully rounded. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Mary Page Marlowe': Theater Review," 13 July 2018 There are drawbacks: bug-sized transmitters have weak ranges and short battery lives, limiting each tracker’s range to a maximum of two weeks and 300 feet. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "How Tiny Trackers Could Help Humans Avoid Kissing Bugs’ Deadly Smooch," 9 July 2018 Center has been the weak spot in the Warriors’ four-season, three-NBA-title run of excellence. Scott Ostler, SFChronicle.com, "With ‘Boogie,’ Warriors shoot into ‘death zone’," 9 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'weak.' 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 weak

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for weak

Middle English weike, from Old Norse veikr; akin to Old English wīcan to yield, Greek eikein to give way, Sanskrit vijate he speeds, flees

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Statistics for weak

Last Updated

4 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for weak

The first known use of weak was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for weak



English Language Learners Definition of weak

: having little physical power or ability : not strong

: having little power or force

: likely to break or stop working properly : not able to handle weight, pressure, or strain


\ˈwēk \
weaker; weakest

Kids Definition of weak

1 : lacking strength of body, mind, or spirit a weak smile a weak patient

2 : not able to stand much strain or force a weak rope

3 : easily overcome a weak argument

4 : not able to function well a weak heart

5 : not rich in some usual or important element weak tea

6 : lacking experience or skill He's a good reader, but is weak in math.

7 : not loud or forceful a weak voice

8 : relating to or being the lightest of three levels of stress in pronunciation

Other Words from weak

weakly adverb

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Comments on weak

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


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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