weaken

verb
weak·​en | \ ˈwē-kən How to pronounce weaken (audio) \
weakened; weakening\ ˈwēk-​niŋ , ˈwē-​kə-​ How to pronounce weaken (audio) \

Definition of weaken

transitive verb

1 : to make weak : lessen the strength of
2 : to reduce in intensity or effectiveness

intransitive verb

: to become weak

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Other Words from weaken

weakener \ ˈwēk-​nər , ˈwē-​kə-​ How to pronounce weaken (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for weaken

weaken, enfeeble, debilitate, undermine, sap, cripple, disable mean to lose or cause to lose strength or vigor. weaken may imply loss of physical strength, health, soundness, or stability or of quality, intensity, or effective power. a disease that weakens the body's defenses enfeeble implies a condition of marked weakness and helplessness. enfeebled by starvation debilitate suggests a less marked or more temporary impairment of strength or vitality. the debilitating effects of surgery undermine and sap suggest a weakening by something working surreptitiously and insidiously. a poor diet undermines your health drugs had sapped his ability to think cripple implies causing a serious loss of functioning power through damaging or removing an essential part or element. crippled by arthritis disable suggests bringing about impairment or limitation in a physical or mental ability. disabled by an injury sustained at work

Examples of weaken in a Sentence

The disease weakens the immune system. Some are concerned that the increase in taxes will weaken the economy. The beams had been weakened by water damage. efforts to weaken environmental laws The recent setbacks have not weakened our resolve. These kinds of contradictions weaken your argument. The disease causes the immune system to weaken. The dollar has continued to weaken against the euro. Lower interest rates have weakened the dollar.
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Recent Examples on the Web Multiple weather agencies that track La Nina are forecasting a better than 50 percent chance that La Nina will weaken substantially in the coming months, which could lessen any negative weather impacts on global crops, including coffee. Sal Gilbertie, Forbes, "Coffee Makes A Move; Prices Close At Highest Levels Since 2017," 27 Feb. 2021 Reformers expected that change would weaken the filibuster’s power. David Lauter, Los Angeles Times, "Essential Politics: Limit filibusters or accept defeat? Democrats are inching toward a stark choice," 26 Feb. 2021 Burdening departments with federal investigations will only further weaken ties between the police and local communities, Yoes argued. Joseph Simonson, Washington Examiner, "Police speak out against ‘white supremacy’ accusations in wake of Capitol riot," 25 Feb. 2021 Here, union advocates suggest that a move to meet and confer would weaken the union to the point where the bargaining process would be compromised. Gilbert Garcia, San Antonio Express-News, "Garcia: Repealing collective bargaining for police would put S.A. in alignment with other Texas cities," 3 Feb. 2021 In recent days, Gupta and Kemp have begun using blood serum from vaccinated people to determine if the variant may weaken the potency of the vaccines. Benjamin Mueller, BostonGlobe.com, "How British scientists found the more infectious coronavirus variant," 16 Jan. 2021 Climbing inflation also means the dollar would weaken. Amrith Ramkumar, WSJ, "How to Invest in Gold," 7 Dec. 2020 As Story, the Atlanta consumer, and other Americans cut back and as colder weather ends outdoor dining in much of the country, consumer spending will likely weaken and hiring slow. Star Tribune, "Retailers brace as virus bears down on consumers and economy," 21 Nov. 2020 As Story, the Atlanta consumer, and other Americans cut back and as colder weather ends outdoor dining in much of the country, consumer spending will likely weaken and hiring slow. Arkansas Online, "Retailers brace as virus bears down on consumers and economy," 21 Nov. 2020

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

1530, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

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Statistics for weaken

Last Updated

3 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Weaken.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/weaken. Accessed 7 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for weaken

weaken

verb

English Language Learners Definition of weaken

: to make (something or someone) weaker, less forceful, less effective, etc.
: to become weaker, less forceful, less effective, etc.
of money : to decrease in value when compared to money from other countries

weaken

verb
weak·​en | \ ˈwē-kən How to pronounce weaken (audio) \
weakened; weakening

Kids Definition of weaken

: to make or become weak or weaker … he didn't want to weaken his message by varying it one bit.— E. L. Konigsburg, Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

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Comments on weaken

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