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

But many economists expect that growth will weaken slightly over the next couple of years — without actually contracting — and that distinction is crucial. Jeanna Smialek, New York Times, "Recession or Slowdown? Why You Should Care About the Difference," 13 Sep. 2019 Investor insight: The announcement could encourage those who have recently unwound positions in safe haven assets such as the yen, which has weakened back to July levels after hitting 2019 highs in August. Julia Horowitz, CNN, "The trade war is quiet. Smart money sees a chance to take risks," 11 Sep. 2019 But if this election is as chaotic as last year’s parliamentary vote and the 2014 presidential one, some observers fear the Afghan government could be badly weakened at a pivotal time. BostonGlobe.com, "The Afghan people, essentially shut out of the talks, want a say in their fate. But if this election is as chaotic as last year’s parliamentary vote and the 2014 presidential one, some observers fear the Afghan government could be badly weakened at a pivotal time.," 11 Sep. 2019 Advocates for Dauphin Island have challenged the Corps to use sand from the dredging to combat erosion of the island’s beaches, saying the channel weakens the island by disrupting the natural flow of sand. al, "Plan to enlarge Mobile Ship Channel cleared to proceed," 9 Sep. 2019 Critics of the consent decree said its enforcement mechanism is weakened because Live Nation is allowed to prioritize tours for venues that use Ticketmaster, just as AEG tries to do with its tours. Dave Brooks, Billboard, "Sens. Blumenthal and Klobuchar Call on Justice Dept. to Investigate Ticketing Industry: Exclusive," 27 Aug. 2019 When Qualcomm sought to put remedies on hold pending appeal, LG argued that any delay would weaken LG’s efforts to negotiate a fair royalty and extend Qualcomm’s monopoly power into the 5G market. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Qualcomm ends patent licensing spat with LG, signs five-year deal," 20 Aug. 2019 So schools need to find new ways to show accountability advocates that test retrenchment won’t weaken standards, and this presents an opportunity to develop more robust assessments and better education. Andrea Gabor, The Denver Post, "Guest Commentary: Testing craze is fading in U.S. schools. Good. Here’s What’s Next.," 16 Aug. 2019 Eq Guinea officials seems to fear an influx of foreigners will weaken efforts to provide jobs to its citizens, majority of whom still live in poverty. Amindeh Blaise Atabong, Quartz Africa, "One of Africa’s wealthiest countries is building a Trump-like wall to stop migrants," 12 Aug. 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

13 Oct 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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