\ 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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Unlike Pruitt, who was a confidant of the president, Price had been on weak ground with Trump for other reasons. Amy Goldstein, Washington Post, "Former HHS secretary Tom Price’s air travel wasted $341,000 in government funds, watchdog says," 13 July 2018 An upper level disturbance, though weak, is expected to increase storm coverage across the entire area late Saturday and Saturday night, with some locally heavy downpours possible. Tom Skilling, chicagotribune.com, "Rise in humidity ups chance of thunderstorms," 13 July 2018 Scientists and environmentalists also warn that environmental enforcement in the region remains weak. Jeff Tollefson, Scientific American, "Deforestation Ticks Up in Brazil's Savanna," 13 July 2018 Trump escalates feud with London’s Mayor In The Sun interview, Trump blasted London Mayor Sadiq Khan for being weak on terrorism and crime — the latest in a long-running back and forth between the pair. Dan Stewart, Time, "The 3 Big Takeaways from Donald Trump's Controversial Interview with The Sun," 13 July 2018 Two security breaches in two weeks have highlighted a weak point at Hartsfield-Jackson International: the 29.5 miles of security fencing surrounding the world’s busiest airport. Kelly Yamanouchi, ajc, "Fence jumpers highlight security vulnerability at Hartsfield-Jackson," 12 July 2018 The then 20-year-old Trout, weary and weak from 156 games that year, including his major league debut, hit .245 with one home run in Arizona. Tom Verducci, SI.com, "The Star That Still Won't Shine: The Incredible, Unprecedented but Unseen Greatness of Mike Trout," 12 July 2018 At the time of Caleb’s death, Kansas had weak regulations of amusement park rides. Steve Vockrodt And Lauren Fox, kansascity, "Schlitterbahn to tear down Verruckt water slide in KCK where young boy died in 2016," 12 July 2018 Peterson is working in a long, long tradition of conservatives, from Galton to Rockefeller to Reagan, using weak scientific data to give their dogma the mouthfeel of objectivity. Laurie Penny, Longreads, "Peterson’s Complaint," 12 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about weak

Statistics for weak

Last Updated

9 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for weak

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


by word of mouth

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Food Quiz

How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

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!