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

Fannie Mae expects the Fed will cut interest rates by 25 basis points in July, followed by another 25 basis points in December, in response to concerns of a weakening economy. R.a. Schuetz, Houston Chronicle, "Fannie Mae predicts GDP growth will halve by 2020," 16 July 2019 On Wednesday, Fed chairman Jerome Powell told Congress that many Fed officials believe a weakening global economy and rising trade tensions have strengthened the case for a rate cut. Washington Post, "Stocks climb to records on hopes for lower interest rates," 12 July 2019 On Wednesday, Fed chairman Jerome Powell told Congress that many Fed officials believe a weakening global economy and rising trade tensions have strengthened the case for a rate cut. CBS News, "First Dow 27,000, now S&P 3,000, as U.S. stocks march ever higher," 12 July 2019 On Wednesday, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said that many Fed officials believe a weakening global economy and rising trade tensions have strengthened the case for a rate cut. Alex Veiga, chicagotribune.com, "Stocks rise on Wall Street, sending Dow over 27,000," 11 July 2019 Companies that consistently lift sales amid the weakening global economy also look more attractive, some analysts say. Julia Donheiser, WSJ, "After Tech’s Wild Quarter, Investors Brace For Turbulence Ahead," 29 June 2019 Adding in another defensive liability like Alves would only weaken the La Liga side's back-line, not strengthen it. SI.com, "Dani Alves: A Barcelona Legend Who Shouldn't Come Home," 26 June 2019 Facing a weakening economy, and with trade tensions with the United States at an all-time high, experts say Xi is under pressure to deliver on the enormous power he's amassed since coming to power in late 2012. Ben Westcott, CNN, "Beijing walks a thin line as Hong Kong erupts at the worst possible time," 13 June 2019 Using this declaration too often would weaken its significance. Julia Belluz, Vox, "Ebola just spread into Uganda. This may be the start of an emergency.," 12 June 2019

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

21 Jul 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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