verb (weakened; weakening) Date: 1530 transitive verb 1. to make weak ; lessen the strength of 2. to reduce in intensity or effectiveness intransitive verb to become weak • weakener noun Synonyms: weaken, enfeeble, debilitate, undermine, sap, cripple, disable mean to lose or cause to lose strength or vigor. weaken may imply loss of physical strength, health, soundness, or stability or of quality, intensity, or effective power <
a disease that weakens the body's defenses
. enfeeble implies an obvious and pitiable condition of weakness and helplessness <
enfeebled by starvation
. debilitate suggests a less marked or more temporary impairment of strength or vitality <
the debilitating effects of surgery
. undermine and sap suggest a weakening by something working surreptitiously and insidiously <
a poor diet undermines your health
drugs had sapped his ability to think
. cripple implies causing a serious loss of functioning power through damaging or removing an essential part or element <
crippled by arthritis
. disable suggests a usually sudden crippling or enfeebling <
disabled soldiers received an immediate discharge

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • weaken — weak‧en [ˈwiːkən] verb 1. [intransitive, transitive] FINANCE if investments, prices, currencies etc weaken, or something weakens them, they begin to fall in value: • A combination of low US interest rates and a rising Euro will weaken the dollar …   Financial and business terms

  • Weaken — Weak en, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Weakened}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Weakening}.] [1913 Webster] 1. To make weak; to lessen the strength of; to deprive of strength; to debilitate; to enfeeble; to enervate; as, to weaken the body or the mind; to weaken the… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • weaken — weaken, enfeeble, debilitate, undermine, sap, cripple, disable can mean to lose or cause to lose, strength, vigor, or energy. Weaken, the most general term of this group, most frequently implies loss of the physical strength or functional… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • weaken — [wē′kən] vt., vi. to make or become weak or weaker weakener n. SYN. WEAKEN, the most general of these words, implies a lessening of strength, power, soundness, etc. [weakened by disease, to weaken an argument ]; DEBILITATE suggests a partial or… …   English World dictionary

  • Weaken — Weak en, v. i. To become weak or weaker; to lose strength, spirit, or determination; to become less positive or resolute; as, the patient weakened; the witness weakened on cross examination. His notion weakens, his discernings are lethargied.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • weaken — index adulterate, alleviate, attenuate, countervail, damage, debase, debilitate, denature, deplete …   Law dictionary

  • weaken — 1520s, from WEAK (Cf. weak) + EN (Cf. en) (1). The earlier verb was simply weak (late 14c.). Related: Weakened; weakening …   Etymology dictionary

  • weaken — [v] reduce the strength of abate, adulterate, break up, cripple, crumble, cut, debase, debilitate, decline, decrease, depress, devitalize, dilute, diminish, droop, dwindle, ease up, enervate, exhaust, fade, fail, faint, flag, give way, halt,… …   New thesaurus

  • weaken — ► VERB ▪ make or become weak …   English terms dictionary

  • weaken */*/ — UK [ˈwiːkən] / US [ˈwɪkən] verb Word forms weaken : present tense I/you/we/they weaken he/she/it weakens present participle weakening past tense weakened past participle weakened 1) a) [intransitive/transitive] to make someone physically less… …   English dictionary

  • weaken — verb ADVERB ▪ considerably, greatly, seriously, severely, significantly, substantially ▪ badly ▪ The military was badly weakened by the sanctions …   Collocations dictionary

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