• synonyms


[vuhl-ner-uh-buh l]
  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.
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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 vulnerably

Contemporary Examples of vulnerably

Historical Examples of vulnerably

  • He smiled suddenly, vulnerably, holding up his little finger.

    Wilderness of Spring

    Edgar Pangborn

  • The men broke into his office where he was sitting, vulnerably, in his shirt-sleeves.

    The Tree of Heaven

    May Sinclair

  • All his address was for his own girl, with her bright, shallow eyes and her vulnerably opened mouth.

    The Rainbow

    D. H. (David Herbert) Lawrence

British Dictionary definitions for vulnerably


  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
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Derived Formsvulnerability or vulnerableness, nounvulnerably, adverb

Word Origin for vulnerable

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 vulnerably



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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper