weaken

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

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 How to pronounce weakener (audio) , ˈwē-​kə-​ \ 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

Uncertainty over trade seems to be weakening the economy, too. Nr Editors, National Review, "The Week," 12 Sep. 2019 Recently, a mutation in a gene called TREM2 was found to weaken microglia and increase the risk of Alzheimer's. Lauran Neergaard, chicagotribune.com, "Scientists rethink Alzheimer’s, diversifying the drug search," 11 Sep. 2019 At the same time, the Trump administration has been seeking to weaken the Affordable Care Act, while also approving work requirements for Medicaid, the health care program for low-income workers. Aimee Picchi, CBS News, "Americans' income barely inching up despite economic growth," 10 Sep. 2019 Then, as has been his pattern, Mr. Trump’s resolve appeared to weaken after talks with gun rights advocates. New York Times, "After String of Mass Shootings, Democrats Begin New Push for Gun Control," 10 Sep. 2019 The typhoon is now forecast to move northeast away from Japan and into the open Pacific over the next day, with maximum wind speeds expected to weaken to 26 mph by Tuesday, according to JMA. Jessie Yeung, CNN, "Typhoon leaves 100 flights canceled and 1 million without power in Japan," 9 Sep. 2019 Gabrielle is expected to weaken into a post-tropical remnant Friday night. Joe Mario Pedersen, orlandosentinel.com, "Tropical Storm Humberto could form from either of 2 systems in Atlantic," 6 Sep. 2019 Malnutrition blunts immunity, which already tends to weaken as people age. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Starving seniors: America is failing to feed its aging citizens, which is costly to them and to everyone else," 5 Sep. 2019 The hurricane center said Dorian is expected to gradually weaken over the next few days. Leigh Morgan, al, "Hurricane Dorian 2019 path update: Eye of Category 2 storm nears North Carolina with 100 mph winds," 5 Sep. 2019

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

15 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for weaken

The first known use of weaken was in 1530

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on weaken

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with weaken

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for weaken

Spanish Central: Translation of weaken

Nglish: Translation of weaken for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of weaken for Arabic Speakers

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