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 The decision is the latest in a string of Trump administration regulatory actions that weaken toxic chemical regulations, often against the advice of E.P.A.’s own experts, in ways favored by the chemical industry. Lisa Friedman, New York Times, "E.P.A. Opts Against Limits on Water Contaminant Tied to Fetal Damage," 14 May 2020 The microbiologist has muscular dystrophy, a genetic disorder that is progressively weakening his muscles. Priti Salian, Quartz India, "Differently abled Indian healthcare workers fight a lonely battle against Covid-19," 8 May 2020 If Democrats start repeating direct statements that weaken trust in the GOP, these ideas would also influence media coverage of the latest news. Joseph O’neill, The New York Review of Books, "Brand New Dems?," 29 Apr. 2020 In India, rumors spread that cheering for health workers had caused sound waves that weakened the virus. Sophie Neiman, The Christian Science Monitor, "Africa goes to war on COVID misinformation – with song," 28 Apr. 2020 What's more, being physically active may help reduce the risk of chronic diseases that could further weaken your immune system, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. Lisa Drayer, CNN, "How to strengthen your immunity during the coronavirus pandemic: Exercise, meditation, sleep and stress management," 26 Mar. 2020 Those killed by the virus have mostly been middle-aged or elderly people, sometimes suffering from other conditions that weaken their ability to fight back. Ken Moritsugu, Anchorage Daily News, "Virus death toll in China rises as US prepares evacuation," 26 Jan. 2020 The agency cited weakening fiscal and external balance sheets due to a drop in demand for commodities and expected economic deceleration because of Covid-19. Misheck Mutize, Quartz Africa, "Downgrading the economies of developing countries in a time of crisis is a very bad idea," 1 May 2020 Here in the United States, the current presidential administration continued weakening environmental rules and laws by stripping protections for streams, wetlands, and groundwater. Krista Stevens, Longreads, "How A Nonagenarian Insists We Can Avoid The Age of Loneliness," 21 Apr. 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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Time Traveler for weaken

Time Traveler

The first known use of weaken was in 1530

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Statistics for weaken

Last Updated

25 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Weaken.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/weaken. Accessed 1 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for weaken

weaken

verb
How to pronounce weaken (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for weaken

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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