weak·​en | \ ˈwē-kən How to pronounce weaken (audio) \
weakened; weakening\ ˈwēk-​niŋ , ˈwē-​kə-​ How to pronounce weaken (audio) \

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

Other Words from weaken

weakener \ ˈwēk-​nər , ˈwē-​kə-​ How to pronounce weaken (audio) \ 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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web The package delivery service is also shuttering storefronts and corporate offices and expects business conditions to further weaken. CBS News, 19 Sep. 2022 One possibility for relief would be a slowdown in the US economy that takes the steam out of the Fed’s pace of tightening, and by extension causes the dollar to weaken. Enda Curran, Fortune, 7 Sep. 2022 Investors are braced for sterling to weaken even further to a nadir not seen in more than two centuries of trading across the Atlantic. Chelsey Dulaney, WSJ, 4 Sep. 2022 If last term was the equivalent of a grand slam for him, the coming term may be even better: the conservative majority will have a chance to roll back affirmative action, and to further weaken the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Margaret Talbot, The New Yorker, 28 Aug. 2022 So is this really the right time to further weaken Covid-19 precautions? Bruce Y. Lee, Forbes, 14 Aug. 2022 According to Johnson, the bear’s weight is intended to help those suffering from Broken Heart Syndrome — a condition that occurs when severe emotional or physical stress causes the heart’s pumping chamber to weaken. Grace Da Rocha, Chron, 18 July 2022 The overturning of Roe will further weaken public trust in the court, wrote Dahlia Lithwick in Slate. Richard Galant, CNN, 26 June 2022 The strategy runs the risk of putting voting rights cases before the Supreme Court, where the conservative majority could further weaken the Voting Rights Act. New York Times, 31 Mar. 2022 See More

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, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

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Dictionary Entries Near weaken

weak at/in the knees


weaker sex

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Statistics for weaken

Last Updated

23 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Weaken.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/weaken. Accessed 1 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for weaken


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, From The Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

More from Merriam-Webster on weaken

Nglish: Translation of weaken for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of weaken for Arabic Speakers


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