weaken

verb
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

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web Netanyahu may have sought to weaken his corruption cases through friendly appointments to the key judicial spots. Dahlia Scheindlin, The New Republic, 20 July 2021 The storm is projected to weaken to a depression by Wednesday night. Kevin Spear, orlandosentinel.com, 5 July 2021 Economists expect the services purchasing managers’ index for June to weaken slightly to 63.3. Wsj Staff, WSJ, 4 July 2021 It is expected to weaken to a post-tropical storm by Tuesday afternoon somewhere south of Nova Scotia then dissipate late Tuesday night. Robin Webb, sun-sentinel.com, 21 June 2021 It is expected to weaken to a tropical depression by tonight. Leigh Morgan, al, 19 June 2021 It was expected to weaken to a tropical depression by Saturday night, the NHC added. NBC News, 19 June 2021 Since the pandemic began, Garcia has fought for equitable vaccination access and other city resources to weaken COVID-19’s disproportionate blow to the Southwest Side. Marina Starleaf Riker, San Antonio Express-News, 23 Apr. 2021 Not to be discouraged, Trump took every opportunity to weaken Americans’ attachment to the electoral system that had brought him to power. Rana Dasgupta, Harper's Magazine, 24 Nov. 2020

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

25 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Weaken.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/weaken. Accessed 26 Jul. 2021.

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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

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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