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vulnerable

[vuhl-ner-uh-buh l]
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adjective
  1. capable of or susceptible to being wounded or hurt, as by a weapon: a vulnerable part of the body.
  2. open to moral attack, criticism, temptation, etc.: an argument vulnerable to refutation; He is vulnerable to bribery.
  3. (of a place) open to assault; difficult to defend: a vulnerable bridge.
  4. Bridge. having won one of the games of a rubber.

Origin of vulnerable

1595–1605; < Late Latin vulnerābilis, equivalent to Latin vulnerā(re) to wound + -bilis -ble; see vulnerary
Related formsvul·ner·a·bil·i·ty, vul·ner·a·ble·ness, nounvul·ner·a·bly, adverbun·vul·ner·a·ble, adjective
Can be confusedvenerable vulnerable
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for vulnerable

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • If we permit our economy to drift and decline, the vulnerable will suffer most.

  • White Fang was in a rage, wickedly making his attack on the most vulnerable spot.

    White Fang

    Jack London

  • If Imogen is vulnerable, this is the quarter from which she must be approached.

    Imogen

    William Godwin

  • If there is a weakness here, if the ranch is vulnerable—we should learn what it is.

    The Bluff of the Hawk

    Anthony Gilmore

  • Something tells me they are vulnerable in ways we haven't guessed at.


British Dictionary definitions for vulnerable

vulnerable

adjective
  1. capable of being physically or emotionally wounded or hurt
  2. open to temptation, persuasion, censure, etc
  3. liable or exposed to disease, disaster, etc
  4. military liable or exposed to attack
  5. bridge (of a side who have won one game towards rubber) subject to increased bonuses or penalties
Derived Formsvulnerability or vulnerableness, nounvulnerably, adverb

Word Origin

C17: from Late Latin vulnerābilis, from Latin vulnerāre to wound, from vulnus a wound
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

Word Origin and History for vulnerable

adj.

c.1600, from Late Latin vulnerabilis "wounding," from Latin vulnerare "to wound," from vulnus (genitive vulneris) "wound," perhaps related to vellere "pluck, to tear."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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