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weak

[week]
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adjective, weak·er, weak·est.
  1. not strong; liable to yield, break, or collapse under pressure or strain; fragile; frail: a weak fortress; a weak spot in armor.
  2. lacking in bodily strength or healthy vigor, as from age or sickness; feeble; infirm: a weak old man; weak eyes.
  3. not having much political strength, governing power, or authority: a weak nation; a weak ruler.
  4. lacking in force, potency, or efficacy; impotent, ineffectual, or inadequate: weak sunlight; a weak wind.
  5. lacking in rhetorical or creative force or effectiveness: a weak reply to the charges; one of the author's weakest novels.
  6. lacking in logical or legal force or soundness: a weak argument.
  7. deficient in mental power, intelligence, or judgment: a weak mind.
  8. not having much moral strength or firmness, resolution, or force of character: to prove weak under temptation; weak compliance.
  9. deficient in amount, volume, loudness, intensity, etc.; faint; slight: a weak current of electricity; a weak pulse.
  10. deficient, lacking, or poor in something specified: a hand weak in trumps; I'm weak in spelling.
  11. deficient in the essential or usual properties or ingredients: weak tea.
  12. unstressed, as a syllable, vowel, or word.
  13. (of Germanic verbs) inflected with suffixes, without inherited change of the root vowel, as English work, worked, or having a preterit ending in a dental, as English bring, brought.
  14. (of Germanic nouns and adjectives) inflected with endings originally appropriate to stems terminating in -n, as the adjective alte in German der alte Mann (“the old man”).
  15. (of wheat or flour) having a low gluten content or having a poor quality of gluten.
  16. Photography. thin; not dense.
  17. Commerce. characterized by a decline in prices: The market was weak in the morning but rallied in the afternoon.

Origin of weak

1250–1300; Middle English weik < Old Norse veikr; cognate with Old English wāc, Dutch week, German weich; akin to Old English wīcan to yield, give way, Old Norse vīkja to move, turn, draw back, German weichen to yield
Related formso·ver·weak, adjectiveo·ver·weak·ly, adverbo·ver·weak·ness, noun

Synonyms

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1. breakable, delicate. 2. senile, sickly, unwell, invalid. Weak, decrepit, feeble, weakly imply a lack of strength or of good health. Weak means not physically strong, because of extreme youth, old age, illness, etc.: weak after an attack of fever. Decrepit means old and broken in health to a marked degree: decrepit and barely able to walk. Feeble denotes much the same as weak, but connotes being pitiable or inferior: feeble and almost senile. Weakly suggests a long-standing sickly condition, a state of chronic bad health: A weakly child may become a strong adult. 4. ineffective. 6. unsound, ineffective, inadequate, illogical, inconclusive, unsustained, unsatisfactory, lame, vague. 7. unintelligent, simple, foolish, stupid, senseless, silly. 8. vacillating, wavering, unstable, irresolute, fluctuating, undecided, weak-kneed. 9. slender, slim, inconsiderable, flimsy, poor, trifling, trivial. 11. wanting, short, lacking.

Antonyms

1. strong.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for weak

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • My hope is weak that I shall ever again see you, yet it is possible.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • When the Kings were weak the nobles often managed to get hold of the State.

    Ancient Man

    Hendrik Willem van Loon

  • Would he be strong or weak; and what would be weakness, and what strength, in a position so strange?

    Malbone

    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • For history does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid.

  • She had no affection for this selfish invalid, this weak, peevish bully.


British Dictionary definitions for weak

weak

adjective
  1. lacking in physical or mental strength or force; frail or feeble
  2. liable to yield, break, or give waya weak link in a chain
  3. lacking in resolution or firmness of character
  4. lacking strength, power, or intensitya weak voice
  5. lacking strength in a particular parta team weak in defence
    1. not functioning as well as normalweak eyes
    2. easily upseta weak stomach
  6. lacking in conviction, persuasiveness, etca weak argument
  7. lacking in political or strategic strengtha weak state
  8. lacking the usual, full, or desirable strength of flavourweak tea
  9. grammar
    1. denoting or belonging to a class of verbs, in certain languages including the Germanic languages, whose conjugation relies on inflectional endings rather than internal vowel gradation, as look, looks, looking, looked
    2. belonging to any part-of-speech class, in any of various languages, whose inflections follow the more regular of two possible patternsCompare strong (def. 13)
  10. (of a syllable) not accented or stressed
  11. (of a fuel-air mixture) containing a relatively low proportion of fuelCompare rich (def. 13)
  12. photog having low density or contrast; thin
  13. (of an industry, market, currency, securities, etc) falling in price or characterized by falling prices
Derived Formsweakish, adjectiveweakishly, adverbweakishness, noun

Word Origin

Old English wāc soft, miserable; related to Old Saxon wēk, Old High German weih, Old Norse veikr
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 weak

adj.

c.1300, from Old Norse veikr "weak," cognate with Old English wac "weak, pliant, soft," from Proto-Germanic *waikwaz "yield," *wikanan "bend" (cf. Old Saxon wek, Swedish vek, Middle Dutch weec, Dutch week "weak, soft, tender," Old High German weih "yielding, soft," German weich "soft," from PIE root *weik- "to bend, wind" (see vicarious). Sense of "lacking authority" is first recorded early 15c.; that of "lacking moral strength" late 14c. Weak-kneed "wanting in resolve" is from 1870.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with weak

weak

In addition to the idioms beginning with weak

also see:

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.