weaken

play
verb weak·en \ ˈwē-kən \

Definition of weaken

weakened; weakening play \ˈwēk-niŋ, ˈwē-kə-\
transitive verb
1 :to make weak :lessen the strength of
2 :to reduce in intensity or effectiveness
intransitive verb
:to become weak

weakener

play \ˈwēk-nər, ˈwē-kə-\ noun

Examples of weaken in a Sentence

  1. The disease weakens the immune system.

  2. Some are concerned that the increase in taxes will weaken the economy.

  3. The beams had been weakened by water damage.

  4. efforts to weaken environmental laws

  5. The recent setbacks have not weakened our resolve.

  6. These kinds of contradictions weaken your argument.

  7. The disease causes the immune system to weaken.

  8. The dollar has continued to weaken against the euro.

  9. Lower interest rates have weakened the dollar.

Recent Examples of weaken from the Web

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.

First Known Use of weaken

1530

Synonym Discussion of 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

WEAKEN Defined for English Language Learners

weaken

play
verb

Definition of weaken for English Language Learners

  • : 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 Defined for Kids

weaken

play
verb weak·en \ ˈwē-kən \

Definition of weaken for Students

weakened; weakening
: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


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up weaken? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

alert quickness of mind or body

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Merriam-Webster's New Words Quiz—Fall 2017 Edition!

  • young-plant-shoots
  • Which of the following is a new sense of the word bunny?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!