weaken

verb
weak·en | \ˈwē-kən \
weakened; weakening\ˈwēk-niŋ, 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, 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

May might survive as leader of the Conservatives, and thus prime minister, but she has been weakened by the cabinet resignations and there is a chance she could be unseated. Peter Ford, The Christian Science Monitor, "As clock ticks down, Britain finally reveals its plan for Brexit. What now?," 11 July 2018 The world has been rooting for them since, especially after warnings from experts about how much could go wrong in the process of bringing out the young boys, who cannot swim and were weakened by their long ordeal. Shibani Mahtani, Washington Post, "Rescuers begin missions to bring out last group from flooded Thai cave," 10 July 2018 Turkey faces immediate challenges in stabilizing its currency, weakened by double-digit inflation and pledges by the president to keep central-bank interest rates low. David Gauthier-villars, WSJ, "Turkish Leader Takes Oath With New Powers and High Ambitions," 9 July 2018 Plants are weakened by drought and high temperatures, and pests start to move in. Neil Sperry, star-telegram, "The tough half of the gardening marathon is ahead. Here's how to finish strong," 6 July 2018 The general population, weakened by years of famine, died in droves. Anne Thériault, Longreads, "Queens of Infamy: Joanna of Naples," 3 July 2018 Leukine has been approved since 1991 in the United States to bolster immune systems weakened by chemotherapy in patients with acute myeloid leukemia. BostonGlobe.com, "The week in business," 9 June 2018 Trade analysts warned Ross's hand might be weakened by the Trump administration's decision Thursday to go ahead with tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Europe and Mexico. CBS News, "Wilbur Ross in China for trade talks," 2 June 2018 Still, there is humor of the prickly and withering variety, taking aim at the aging emperor Logan Roy (Brian Cox)—who is weakened by a stroke, sending all his heirs scrambling for power. Richard Lawson, HWD, "HBO’s Rich-Family-in-Peril Drama Succession Has a Troubling Allure," 1 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

29 Sep 2018

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 \
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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