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

Japan’s economy is weakening, but the government looks likely to increase its sales tax. Mike Bird, WSJ, "Tokyo’s Tax Increase Would Undermine All of Japan’s Economic Progress," 9 Apr. 2019 But recent changes have fundamentally weakened the Reef's ability to protect itself and grow. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Climate Change Has Fundamentally Weakened The Great Barrier Reef," 4 Apr. 2019 But demand for mass public transport has weakened in so many rich-world cities at the same time that one-off explanations seem inadequate. The Economist, "Public transport is in decline in many wealthy cities," 21 June 2018 But whereas Maradona’s dominance as the 1986 tournament progressed, Messi weakened. Dylan Hernandez, latimes.com, "World Cup offers Argentina's Lionel Messi the stage to be on the same level as countryman Diego Maradona," 13 June 2018 Buzz60 Hurricane Bud weakened to a tropical storm on Wednesday but remained a threat for Mexico's Baja Peninsula, where a tropical storm warning has been posted. Doyle Rice, USA TODAY, "Bud weakens to tropical storm, still a threat for Mexico and U.S. Southwest," 13 June 2018 But discord within the Republican caucus — bolstered by Greitens' recent legal victories — had weakened GOP leadership's hand. Jason Hancock And Lindsay Wise, kansascity, "Behind the scenes of Eric Greitens' decision to resign. 'No one saw it coming.'," 10 June 2018 Alberto was forecast to move over Alabama late Monday and early Tuesday as a subtropical depression, with the weather system weakening but drenching Tennessee and the Great Lakes region by midweek. David Ovalle, miamiherald, "Alberto weakening after landfall in Panhandle," 28 May 2018 The deprivation can weaken the immune system of very young and very old animals, making them susceptible to disease. Mark Barna, Discover Magazine, "Not So Fast," 24 Sep. 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

12 May 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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