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[fee-buh l] /ˈfi bəl/
adjective, feebler, feeblest.
physically weak, as from age or sickness; frail.
weak intellectually or morally:
a feeble mind.
lacking in volume, loudness, brightness, distinctness, etc.:
a feeble voice; feeble light.
lacking in force, strength, or effectiveness:
feeble resistance; feeble arguments.
Origin of feeble
1125-75; Middle English feble < Old French, variant of fleible (by dissimilation) < Latin flēbilis lamentable, equivalent to flē(re) to weep + -bilis -ble
Related forms
feebleness, noun
feeblish, adjective
feebly, adverb
nonfeeble, adjective
nonfeebleness, noun
nonfeebly, adverb
unfeeble, adjective
unfeebleness, noun
unfeebly, adverb
1. See weak. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for feebleness
Historical Examples
  • The inadequacy, the feebleness of the whole thing is astounding.

    The Man Shakespeare Frank Harris
  • feebleness and failure in prayer is a sign of feebleness in the spiritual life.

  • The Regent's feebleness was the main rock upon which he built.

  • Something also may be attributed to the feebleness of old age.

    Laws Plato
  • The inferiority might be the result of feebleness and of want of activity of mind.

    Laws Plato
  • She cursed her feebleness; she longed to expose it, without apologies or tears.

  • An excitement quite fierce in its feebleness possessed them.

    Within the Tides Joseph Conrad
  • Yet this feebleness, profound, insurmountable, was what caused his torments of jealousy.


    Stephen French Whitman
  • It was, in Ralph's state of feebleness, a very long journey.

  • These will account for much of the feebleness of young women and girls.

    The Arena Various
British Dictionary definitions for feebleness


lacking in physical or mental strength; frail; weak
inadequate; unconvincing: feeble excuses
easily influenced or indecisive
Derived Forms
feebleness, noun
feebly, adverb
Word Origin
C12: from Old French feble, fleible, from Latin flēbilis to be lamented, from flēre to weep
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for feebleness

c.1300, from feeble + -ness.



late 12c., from Old French feble (12c., Modern French faible) "weak, feeble," from Latin flebilis "lamentable," literally "that is to be wept over," from flere "weep, cry, shed tears, lament," from PIE *bhle- "to howl" (cf. bleat). The first -l- was dropped in Old French by dissimilation. The noun meaning "feeble person" is recorded from mid-14c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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