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
2
a
: 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
4
a
: 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
5
a
: 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
6
a
: not having or exerting authority or political power
weak government
7
a
: 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
8
a
: 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
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

Example Sentences

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 Worse, some superstitious mariners said, the fish in that initial rendering was swimming away from the state name, suggesting (or portending) a weak haul. Cory Graff, Smithsonian Magazine, 4 Dec. 2022 With exports falling right now and consumer spending weak during widespread Covid lockdowns, the economy is even more dependent on housing. Keith Bradsher, New York Times, 25 Nov. 2022 Aside from a weak sea breeze off the Marin Headlands and some dry winds in the highlands of Napa and Sonoma,winds in the valleys and the shoreline will generally ramp down just in time for dinner. Gerry Díaz, San Francisco Chronicle, 23 Nov. 2022 Analysts are citing weak demand for oil out of Asia—as well as a pipeline outage in Texas—for a surplus of physical crude that is depressing near-term prices. Bob Henderson, WSJ, 18 Nov. 2022 Wall Street was expecting such price hikes due to weak demand for Covid shots, which meant vaccine makers would need to hike prices to meet revenue forecasts for 2023 and beyond. Ed Silverman, STAT, 26 Oct. 2022 The company has been facing weak demand in some of its key markets this year, with shares of its stock down to their lowest point since 2016 due to surging inflation and less consumer spending power. Nik Popli, Time, 25 Oct. 2022 An oversupply matched with weak demand due to warm weather has meant the discount at which day-ahead European benchmark gas futures trade to month-ahead contracts reached their largest ever on record earlier this month. Christiaan Hetzner, Fortune, 25 Oct. 2022 The company is blaming the shortfall on weak demand for its client business, which includes selling desktop processors and laptops for consumers. Michael Kan, PCMAG, 6 Oct. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near weak

Cite this Entry

“Weak.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/weak. Accessed 8 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

weak

adjective
1
a
: lacking physical strength
b
: easily upset or nauseated
a weak stomach
2
: not able to stand much weight, pressure, or strain
a weak rope
3
a
: lacking strength of mind or character
b
: resulting from or showing a lack of mental or moral firmness
a weak policy
4
: not rich in some usual or important element
weak tea
5
: not able to stand the test of logic
a weak argument
6
: lacking skill or ability
weak in math
7
: lacking in force of expression
a weak writing style
8
: not having or using authority
weak government
9
: of, relating to, or being a verb or verb conjugation that forms the past tense and past participle by adding the suffix -ed or -d or -t
10
: of, relating to, or being the lightest of three levels of stress in pronunciation
a weak syllable
11
: ionizing only slightly in solution
weak acids
weakly adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on weak

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