adjective, weak·er, weak·est.

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 for weak

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 for weak

1. strong.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for weaker

Contemporary Examples of weaker

Historical Examples of weaker

  • Christian Greece weaker than at any time since she became a kingdom.

    The Grand Old Man

    Richard B. Cook

  • The strong man was now the weaker; the father and not the daughter wept.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

  • Burke slapped his leg with an enthusiasm that might have broken a weaker member.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • It's an all-day process of the stronger annihilating the weaker.

    Her Father's Daughter

    Gene Stratton-Porter

  • The passions are not stronger, but the control over them is weaker.

British Dictionary definitions for weaker



lacking in physical or mental strength or force; frail or feeble
liable to yield, break, or give waya weak link in a chain
lacking in resolution or firmness of character
lacking strength, power, or intensitya weak voice
lacking strength in a particular parta team weak in defence
  1. not functioning as well as normalweak eyes
  2. easily upseta weak stomach
lacking in conviction, persuasiveness, etca weak argument
lacking in political or strategic strengtha weak state
lacking the usual, full, or desirable strength of flavourweak tea
  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)
(of a syllable) not accented or stressed
(of a fuel-air mixture) containing a relatively low proportion of fuelCompare rich (def. 13)
photog having low density or contrast; thin
(of an industry, market, currency, securities, etc) falling in price or characterized by falling prices
Derived Formsweakish, adjectiveweakishly, adverbweakishness, noun

Word Origin for weak

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 weaker



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 weaker


In addition to the idioms beginning with weak

  • weak as a kitten
  • weak link
  • weak moment, in a

also see:

  • spirit is willing but the flesh is weak
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.