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feeble

[fee-buh l]
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adjective, fee·bler, fee·blest.
  1. physically weak, as from age or sickness; frail.
  2. weak intellectually or morally: a feeble mind.
  3. lacking in volume, loudness, brightness, distinctness, etc.: a feeble voice; feeble light.
  4. lacking in force, strength, or effectiveness: feeble resistance; feeble arguments.
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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 formsfee·ble·ness, nounfee·blish, adjectivefee·bly, adverbnon·fee·ble, adjectivenon·fee·ble·ness, nounnon·fee·b·ly, adverbun·fee·ble, adjectiveun·fee·ble·ness, nounun·fee·b·ly, adverb

Synonyms

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

Examples from the Web for feebly

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • He looked upward with a radiant expression, and feebly pressed her hand.

    Philothea

    Lydia Maria Child

  • But the mind of Ho-tai had begun to come back to him, feebly as from a far journey.

    The Trail Book

    Mary Austin

  • She but feebly blamed me, when she spoke, for not hearing what Mr. Solmes had to say.

    Clarissa, Volume 2 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • Great was her happiness on feeling that he feebly returned the clasp.

  • John looked up, and seeing who it was, feebly held out his hand.


British Dictionary definitions for feebly

feeble

adjective
  1. lacking in physical or mental strength; frail; weak
  2. inadequate; unconvincingfeeble excuses
  3. easily influenced or indecisive
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Derived Formsfeebleness, nounfeebly, 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

Word Origin and History for feebly

adv.

late 13c., from feeble + -ly (2).

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feeble

adj.

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper