weaken

verb
weak·​en | \ ˈwē-kən \
weakened; weakening\ ˈwēk-​niŋ , 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 , 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

Brittle, damaged hair gets in the way of length retention, weakens strands, and limits your style versatility. Lara Adekola, Teen Vogue, "How to Grow Your Natural Hair," 2 Jan. 2019 Slowing economic growth, the falling Chinese stock market and a weakening Chinese currency could dampen growth in tourism spending. Stella Yifan Xie, WSJ, "After a Comeback and a Name Change, Priceline Bets Big on China," 28 Dec. 2018 Alas, this is the same reason highlights weaken hair and require extra TLC. Amy Marturana, SELF, "17 Styling Tricks Women with Fine, Flat Hair Need to Know," 21 Dec. 2018 Republicans’ indifference to democracy allows Trump to behave in a wild and dangerous fashion; in turn, Republicans defend Trump and further weaken the fundamentals of the democratic system. Zack Beauchamp, Vox, "The Republican Party versus democracy," 17 Dec. 2018 Those measures have inflicted a slow-burn toll: infrastructure destroyed, jobs lost, a weakening currency and soaring prices. Declan Walsh, The Seattle Times, "The tragedy of Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen," 26 Oct. 2018 The first named storm of the Pacific season, Tropical Storm Aletta, weakened on Monday into remnant low-pressure system in the Pacific, far from the Mexican coast. Travis Fedschun, Fox News, "Hurricane Bud now a Category 3 storm, forecast to weaken before hitting Mexico's Baja," 2 Oct. 2018 Volatility is rising and with it the cost of protecting against a weakening currency, short positioning is soaring and foreigners are fleeing South African bonds at a rate last seen 18 years ago. Colleen Goko, Bloomberg.com, "South African Rand Is Back to Its Bad Old Way," 21 May 2018 Zinke worked to drastically weaken environmental protections The Trump administration has also made point of undoing environmental regulations and Zinke has presided over some of its most impactful rollbacks. Umair Irfan, Vox, "Ryan Zinke to resign as Interior Secretary at the end of the year," 15 Dec. 2018

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

6 Jan 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 \
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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