Debility De*bil"i*ty, n. [L. debilitas, fr. debilis weak, prob. fr. de- + habilis able: cf. F. d['e]bilit['e]. See {Able}, a.] The state of being weak; weakness; feebleness; languor. [1913 Webster]

The inconveniences of too strong a perspiration, which are debility, faintness, and sometimes sudden death. --Arbuthnot.

Syn: {Debility}, {Infirmity}, {Imbecility}.

Usage: An infirmity belongs, for the most part, to particular members, and is often temporary, as of the eyes, etc. Debility is more general, and while it lasts impairs the ordinary functions of nature. Imbecility attaches to the whole frame, and renders it more or less powerless. Debility may be constitutional or may be the result or superinduced causes; Imbecility is always constitutional; infirmity is accidental, and results from sickness or a decay of the frame. These words, in their figurative uses, have the same distinctions; we speak of infirmity of will, debility of body, and an Imbecility which affects the whole man; but Imbecility is often used with specific reference to feebleness of mind. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.


Look at other dictionaries:

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  • debility — index disability (physical inability), fault (weakness), frailty, impotence, impuissance, languor, prostration …   Law dictionary

  • debility — early 15c., from M.Fr. debilite (Mod.Fr. débilité) or directly from L. debilitatem (nom. debilitas) a laming, crippling, weakening, from debilis lame, disabled, crippled, figuratively weak, helpless, from de from, away (see DE (Cf. de )) + bilis… …   Etymology dictionary

  • debility — [n] incapacity, weakness decrepitude, disease, enervation, enfeeblement, exhaustion, faintness, feebleness, frailty, infirmity, languor, malaise, sickliness, unhealthiness; concept 316 Ant. ability, capability, health, strength, vigor …   New thesaurus

  • debility — ► NOUN ▪ physical weakness …   English terms dictionary

  • debility — [də bil′ə tē] n. pl. debilities [ME debilite < OFr débilité < L debilitas, weakness < debilis: see DEBILITATE] weakness or feebleness, esp. of the body …   English World dictionary

  • debility — [[t]dɪbɪ̱lɪti[/t]] debilities N VAR Debility is a weakness of a person s body or mind, especially one caused by an illness. [FORMAL] Anxiety or general debility can play a part in food intolerance or allergy. Syn: weakness, infirmity …   English dictionary

  • debility — UK [dɪˈbɪlətɪ] / US noun [countable/uncountable] Word forms debility : singular debility plural debilities formal a state in which you are physically or mentally weak, usually because of an illness …   English dictionary

  • debility — /di bil i tee/, n., pl. debilities. 1. a weakened or enfeebled state; weakness: Debility prevented him from getting out of bed. 2. a particular mental or physical handicap; disability. [1425 75; late ME debylite < MF debilite < L debilitas, equiv …   Universalium

  • debility — de|bil|i|ty [dıˈbılıti] n plural debilities [U and C] formal weakness, especially as the result of illness →↑disability ▪ physical and mental debility …   Dictionary of contemporary English

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