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

The storm, which had been downgraded from hurricane status, was expected to continue weakening Thursday, and become a post-tropical cyclone later Thursday. John Hilliard, BostonGlobe.com, "Beaches reopen, but officials warn swimmers of rip current risk along southern Mass. coast," 12 July 2018 Which is to say: Beijing is using violations of international trade rules in a bid to reshape the global economy in a manner that will weaken the West relative to China. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "After Trump’s New Tariff Threat, China Seeks Strategy for Retaliation," 11 July 2018 This year, state lawmakers passed legislation that further weakened the Gary school board’s role, limiting it to quarterly meetings each year. Meredith Colias-pete, Post-Tribune, "Gary residents invited to 1st monthly schools public forum Tuesday," 9 July 2018 As a result, legislative maps that weaken those voters’ electoral influence also give Republicans a structural advantage. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "How Texas Republicans Got Away With a Racially Discriminatory Electoral Map," 25 June 2018 Bio-Oil contains vitamin A, which helps boost collagen production, and vitamin E, which protects the skin against the effects of free radicals that can weaken and damage skin. Emily Rekstis, SELF, "9 Ways to Use Bio-Oil, the Drugstore Scar Treatment People Love," 22 June 2018 And three, with the berry thus weakened, mold invades. Matt Simon, WIRED, "The Amphiphilic Liquid Coating That Keeps Your Avocados Fresh," 21 June 2018 Since Congress was unable to pass such a law, Trump and his aides have been taking a series of steps to weaken the law through administration maneuvers. Amy Goldstein, latimes.com, "Trump administration slashes grants to help Americans get Affordable Care Act coverage," 10 July 2018 It is expected to weaken more in the next 24 hours or so. Brett Clarkson, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Beryl's remnants to bring heavy rain to Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands," 8 July 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

1 Sep 2018

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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Comments on weaken

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