Synonym Chooser

How is the word enfeeble distinct from other similar verbs?

Some common synonyms of enfeeble are cripple, debilitate, disable, sap, undermine, and weaken. While all these words mean "to lose or cause to lose strength or vigor," enfeeble implies a condition of marked weakness and helplessness.

enfeebled by starvation

In what contexts can cripple take the place of enfeeble?

Although the words cripple and enfeeble have much in common, cripple implies causing a serious loss of functioning power through damaging or removing an essential part or element.

crippled by arthritis

Where would debilitate be a reasonable alternative to enfeeble?

In some situations, the words debilitate and enfeeble are roughly equivalent. However, debilitate suggests a less marked or more temporary impairment of strength or vitality.

the debilitating effects of surgery

When is it sensible to use disable instead of enfeeble?

The words disable and enfeeble can be used in similar contexts, but disable suggests bringing about impairment or limitation in a physical or mental ability.

disabled by an injury sustained at work

How are the words undermine and sap related as synonyms of enfeeble?

Both 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

When is weaken a more appropriate choice than enfeeble?

While the synonyms weaken and enfeeble are close in meaning, 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

Thesaurus Entries Near enfeeble

Cite this Entry

“Enfeeble.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/enfeeble. Accessed 28 Nov. 2022.

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