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verb (used with object)
  1. to make weak or weaker.
  2. Phonetics. to change (a speech sound) to an articulation requiring less effort, as from geminate to nongeminate or from stop to fricative.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to become weak or weaker.
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Origin of weaken

First recorded in 1520–30; weak + -en1
Related formsweak·en·er, nounre·weak·en, verbun·weak·ened, adjectiveun·weak·en·ing, adjective


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

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British Dictionary definitions for weaken


  1. to become or cause to become weak or weaker
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Derived Formsweakener, noun
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 weaken


1520s, from weak + -en (1). The earlier verb was simply weak (late 14c.). Related: Weakened; weakening.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper