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

Critics say the suspension of the chief justice just three weeks before the election is an effort by President Muhammadu Buhari to weaken Nigeria’s judiciary and pave the way for his election to a second term in the Feb. 16 vote. Bashir Adigun, The Seattle Times, "Nigeria denies judge’s suspension influenced by election," 28 Jan. 2019 These trade winds weaken and cause warm water to pile up and migrate towards South America. Megan Barber, Curbed, "El Niño watch: Here’s what it means for cities," 19 Sep. 2018 As senescent cells mount, our walking pace and cognitive processing speed slow, our grips weaken and disabilities mount. Melissa Healy, latimes.com, "This drug cocktail reduced signs of age-related diseases and extended life in mice and human cells," 10 July 2018 Wheeler may also continue Pruitt’s work of disqualifying air pollution science from being used at the agency; ignoring environmental justice; weakening oversight of toxic chemicals; and declining to prosecute polluters for environmental crimes. Emily Atkin, The New Republic, "Scott Pruitt Is Gone. His Assault on the Environment Continues.," 5 July 2018 The medical team used polio viruses already weakened and altered for use in polio vaccines, and genetically engineered them to carry parts of a common cold virus, called a rhinovirus, known to be attracted to glioma cells. NBC News, "Modified polio vaccine helps fight deadly brain tumors," 26 June 2018 Turkey’s economy may weaken further Mr. Erdogan’s recent economic interventions helped to cause a loss in the lira’s value — and the currency problem could worsen now that he has been returned to office. Palko Karasz, New York Times, "Five Takeaways From Turkey’s Election," 25 June 2018 Tornadoes can vary in intensity over very short distances, causing damage in one spot, weakening and doing no damage, then intensifying again, and so on. Tom Skilling, chicagotribune.com, "Ask Tom: Can tornadoes 'hop' over certain places?," 25 June 2018 Though praised for weakening the FARC and drawing record foreign investment, Uribe has also been blamed for the military's killing of thousands of civilians who were falsely portrayed as rebels to inflate body counts. Christine Armario And Joshua Goodman, The Christian Science Monitor, "Colombia's president-elect appeals for unity after runoff election," 18 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

3 Feb 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 \
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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