weak·​ness | \ ˈwēk-nəs How to pronounce weakness (audio) \

Definition of weakness

1 : the quality or state of being weak also : an instance or period of being weak backed down in a moment of weakness
2 : fault, defect
3a : a special desire or fondness has a weakness for sweets
b : an object of special desire or fondness pizza is my weakness

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of weakness in a Sentence

The weakness of her voice surprised me. The incident exposed his weakness as a leader. Some see compromise as a sign of weakness. the weakness of a radio signal connection the weakness of the dollar I told them my secret in a moment of weakness. The tutor assessed the student's strengths and weaknesses. The basketball team has few weaknesses. Chocolate is my greatest weakness. He has a weakness for desserts.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Faced with the economy’s current weakness, the ECB has postponed interest-rate rises until mid-2020 and is providing more cheap funding for banks. The Economist, "For how long can today’s global economic expansion last?," 12 July 2019 Trade weakness has added to pressure on Xi’s government to shore up economic growth and avoid politically dangerous job losses. Washington Post, "China imports from US plunge 31% in June amid tariff war," 12 July 2019 In a way, this attribute is also Dance in the Parks’ greatest weakness, since much of the choreography lacks finesse or evidence of a deep and thoughtful creative process. Lauren Warnecke, chicagotribune.com, "Never mind the evening heat and sun, Chicago dancers make Dance in the Parks good summer fun," 10 July 2019 New symptoms include sudden onset weakness or paralysis in the arms or legs, a facial droop, trouble speaking or swallowing, or difficulty moving their eyes. Victoria Albert, CBS News, "AFM still a "bit of a mystery" amid peak season for polio-like illness," 10 July 2019 As the manufacturing and agricultural sectors have struggled in recent months because of the trade war, the giant services sector has continued to grow, offsetting weaknesses elsewhere. John Cassidy, The New Yorker, "Three Key Questions About Trump and the Economy," 9 July 2019 The savviest companies are exploiting weakness as an opportunity. Peter S. Goodman, New York Times, "Turkey’s Long, Painful Economic Crisis Grinds On," 8 July 2019 But if quantum physicists have their way, such weaknesses will soon go the way of the dodo. Anil Ananthaswamy, Scientific American, "The Quantum Internet Is Emerging, One Experiment at a Time," 19 June 2019 Some of this is par for the course on the internet these days, given the prevalence of sweeping, untargeted attacks that aim to find any weakness possible on any site. Lily Hay Newman, WIRED, "Cloudflare’s Five-Year Project to Protect Nonprofits Online," 12 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'weakness.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of weakness

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about weakness

Statistics for weakness

Last Updated

15 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for weakness

The first known use of weakness was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for weakness



English Language Learners Definition of weakness

: the quality or state of being weak
: a quality or feature that prevents someone or something from being effective or useful
: something that you like so much that you are often unable to resist it


weak·​ness | \ ˈwēk-nəs How to pronounce weakness (audio) \

Kids Definition of weakness

1 : lack of strength
2 : a weak point : flaw The plan has some weaknesses.
3 : a special fondness or the object of a special fondness Chocolate is my weakness.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on weakness

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for weakness

Spanish Central: Translation of weakness

Nglish: Translation of weakness for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of weakness for Arabic Speakers

Comments on weakness

What made you want to look up weakness? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


something desired as essential

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!