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

Per Bloomberg, keeping the three-year-old mercury rules intact while weakening the justification behind them is the Trump administration's attempt to appease both sides of this issue. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "EPA to keep Obama-era mercury rules, but make it harder to tighten them," 26 Dec. 2018 At the same time, the two main parties could see the other as weakened, tempting them to make maximalist demands. Brian Rohan, The Seattle Times, "Expectations low as Yemen’s warring parties meet for talks," 4 Dec. 2018 Jacobs is actually a Christian missionary dedicated to converting Jews — that is to say, to weakening the Jewish community — and a defrocked one at that. Zack Beauchamp, Vox, "My Jewish wedding was the day of the Pittsburgh shooting. Anti-Semites threatened it.," 2 Nov. 2018 While economic activity in the borderlands weakens and corruption grows, the morale and effectiveness of security forces has eroded, Franklin said. Tom Odula, Fox News, "5 years after mall Kenya attack, al-Shabab's threat grows," 21 Sep. 2018 The ubiquitous coffeehouse giant had been eyeing the corner of Cross and Hanover streets as a spot to open a new franchise, much to the chagrin of some North End shop owners, who worried the chain would weaken the neighborhood’s historic charm. Danny Mcdonald, BostonGlobe.com, "Boston’s Walsh opposes North End Starbucks proposal," 6 July 2018 Parts of the Lesser Antilles will likely still lget heavy rain and gusty wind even if the system weakens, forecasters said. Jenny Staletovich, miamiherald, "Tropical depression forms in the Atlantic," 5 July 2018 Heavy rain and attendant flooding were the main impacts in the Fort Benning area, where rainfall totaled 5 to 7 inches as the storm quickly weakened to an extratropical low pressure center shortly after landfall. Tom Skilling, chicagotribune.com, "Ask Tom: Was there a hurricane near Fort Benning, Ga., in the mid-1950s?," 21 June 2018 That move is seen as potentially weakening defenses and diplomacy among US Asian allies, while bolstering China and Russia. Christopher Bodeen And Dake Kang, The Christian Science Monitor, "China hopes to see progress on US-North Korea summit agreements," 19 June 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

17 Mar 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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