Etymology: Middle English weike, from Old Norse veikr; akin to Old English wīcan to yield, Greek eikein to give way, Sanskrit vijate he speeds, flees
Date: 14th century
1. lacking strength: as
a. deficient in physical vigor ; feeble, debilitated
b. not able to sustain or exert much weight, pressure, or strain
c. not able to resist external force or withstand attack
d. easily upset or nauseated <a weak stomach> 2. a. mentally or intellectually deficient b. not firmly decided ; vacillating c. resulting from or indicating lack of judgment or discernment d. not able to withstand temptation or persuasion <the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak> 3. not factually grounded or logically presented <a weak argument> 4. a. not able to function properly <weak eyes> b. (1) lacking skill or proficiency <tutoring for weaker students> (2) indicative of a lack of skill or aptitude <history was my weakest subject> c. wanting in vigor of expression or effect <a weak translation of the poem> 5. a. deficient in the usual or required ingredients ; dilute <weak coffee> b. lacking normal intensity or potency <a weak radio signal> <a weak strain of virus> 6. a. not having or exerting authority or political power <weak government> b. ineffective, impotent 7. of, relating to, or constituting a verb or verb conjugation that in English forms the past tense and past participle by adding the suffix -ed or -d or -t 8. a. bearing the minimal degree of stress occurring in the language <a weak syllable> b. having little or no stress and obscured vowel sound <'d in he'd is the weak form of would> 9. tending toward a lower price or value <a weak market> <a weak dollar> 10. ionizing only slightly in solution <weak acids and bases> • weakly adverb Synonyms: weak, feeble, frail, fragile, infirm, decrepit mean not strong enough to endure strain, pressure, or strenuous effort. weak applies to deficiency or inferiority in strength or power of any sort <felt weak after the surgery>. feeble suggests extreme weakness inviting pity or contempt <a feeble attempt to walk>. frail implies delicacy and slightness of constitution or structure <a frail teenager unable to enjoy sports>. fragile suggests frailty and brittleness unable to resist rough usage <a reclusive poet too fragile for the rigors of this world>. infirm suggests instability, unsoundness, and insecurity due to old age or crippling illness <infirm residents requiring constant care>. decrepit implies being worn-out or broken-down from long use or old age <the dowager's decrepit retainers>.
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.