weak

weak, feeble, frail, fragile, infirm, decrepit can mean not strong enough to bear, resist, or endure strain or pressure or to withstand difficulty, effort, or use.
Weak is by far the widest in its range of application, being not only interchangeable with all of the succeeding words but also capable of being applied where they are not. Fundamentally it implies deficiency or inferiority in strength; it may apply to the body, the will, the mind, or the spirit
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a character too weak to resist temptation

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she wasn't a weak and silly creature .... She didn't swoon and give way to feelings and emotions— Farrell

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thou, though strong in love, art all too weak in reason— Wordsworth

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Often it implies a lack of power, skill, efficiency or ability to control
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a weak government

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a weak team

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a weak influence

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It may also suggest a sign of impairment of a thing's strength (as a defect, a fault, or a dilution)
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a weak tread in a stairway

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weak tea

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a weak argument

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weak facetious echoes of a style ... ten years outmoded— Wouk

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Feeble not only is more restricted than weak in its range of application but also carries a stronger implication of lamentableness or pitiableness in that weakness. It is chiefly applied to human beings and their acts and utterances, then usually implying a manifest lack or impairment of physical, mental, or moral strength
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a feeble, tottering old man

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a feeble attempt to resist the enemy's advance

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rigid principles often do for feeble minds what stays do for feeble bodies— Macaulay

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As applied to things, feeble implies faintness, indistinctness, impotency, or inadequacy
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a feeble light

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a feeble sound

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a sense of feeble lust, of desire that mumbled incoherently as in a restless dream— Hervey

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Frail, when it implies physical weakness, suggests not so much the impairment of strength as natural delicacy of constitution or slightness of build
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a small, frail man, all heart and will— Masefield

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it was marvelous that ... the energy of her spirit could carry through so triumphantly her frail nervous system and her delicate constitution— Ellis

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As applied to things the term usually implies liability to failure or destruction if the thing has physical existence
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shoot the rapids in a frail canoe

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I would lie . . . and listen to Yuriko's voice as it floated . . . through the frail partitions— Mailer

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or, if immaterial, an incapacity for dealing with forces or powers opposed to it, or tending to destroy it
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beauty, frail flow'r that ev'ry season fears— Pope

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When frail is applied to the will, the conscience, the moral nature of man, it carries an even stronger implication of lack of power to resist than weak
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if he prove unkind, (as who can say but being man, and therefore frail, he may)— Cowper}

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Fragile (see also FRAGILE 1) is frequently used in place of frail, but it usually carries even a stronger suggestion of delicacy and of likelihood of destruction
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physically fragile, she was spiritually tough— Sackville-West

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passionately realizing the moment, its fleeting exquisiteness, its still, fragile beauty— Rose Macaulay

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Infirm usually implies a loss of strength, especially of physical strength, with consequent instability, unsoundness, or insecurity
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elevators in loft buildings . . . that, infirm and dolorous to hear, seem to touch on our concepts of damnation— Cheever

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As referred to human beings, it implies illness or more often old age
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a poor, infirm, weak, and despised old man— Shak.

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As referred, however, to the tempers, the designs, or the intentions of men, it often implies wavering or serious vacillation
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infirm of purpose! Give me the daggers— Shak.

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Decrepit is as applicable to things as to persons that are worn out or broken down by use or age
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such is its misery and wretchedness, that it resembles a man in the last decrepit stages of life— Fielding

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the bus is decrepit and the seats and several of the windows are held together with friction tape— Cheevery

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Analogous words: debilitated, weakened, enfeebled (see WEAKEN): *powerless, impotent
Antonyms: strong
Contrasted words: stout, sturdy, tough, stalwart, tenacious (see STRONG)

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Weak — (w[=e]k), a. [Compar. {Weaker} (w[=e]k [ e]r); superl. {Weakest}.] [OE. weik, Icel. veikr; akin to Sw. vek, Dan. veg soft, flexible, pliant, AS. w[=a]c weak, soft, pliant, D. week, G. weich, OHG. weih; all from the verb seen in Icel. v[=i]kja to… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • weak — W2S3 [wi:k] adj ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬ 1¦(physical)¦ 2¦(likely to break)¦ 3¦(character)¦ 4¦(without power)¦ 5¦(without interest)¦ 6¦(without energy)¦ 7¦(not good at doing something)¦ 8¦(money)¦ 9¦(argument/idea)¦ 10¦(drink)¦ …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • weak — [ wik ] adjective *** ▸ 1 lacking energy ▸ 2 lacking power ▸ 3 easily persuaded ▸ 4 bad in quality ▸ 5 likely to break/fail ▸ 6 with a lot of water ▸ 7 lacking strength ▸ 8 in linguistics 1. ) part of your body that is weak is not as strong or… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • weak — [wiːk] adjective FINANCE 1. if markets, investments, currencies etc are weak, their prices are falling: • The company reported a loss of C$16 million, mostly because of weak metals prices. • The weak dollar has ma …   Financial and business terms

  • weak — [wēk] adj. [ME waik < ON veikr, akin to OE wac, feeble (which the ON word replaced) < IE * weig , * weik (< base * wei , to bend) > WEEK, WICKER, L vicis, change] 1. a) lacking in strength of body or muscle; not physically strong b)… …   English World dictionary

  • weak — weak·en; weak·en·er; weak; weak·ish; weak·li·ness; weak·ness; elec·tro·weak; weak·ling; weak·ly; weak·head·ed·ly; weak·head·ed·ness; weak·heart·ed·ly; weak·heart·ed·ness; weak·ish·ly; weak·ish·ness; weak·kneed·ly; weak·kneed·ness; …   English syllables

  • Weak — is a generic adjective pertaining to a general state of feebleness, a lack of strength, durability, or vigor. Contents 1 Music 2 Other 3 See also …   Wikipedia

  • weak — [adj1] not strong anemic, debilitated, decrepit, delicate, effete, enervated, exhausted, faint, feeble, flaccid, flimsy, forceless, fragile, frail, hesitant, impuissant, infirm, insubstantial, irresolute, lackadaisical*, languid, languorous, limp …   New thesaurus

  • weak — c.1300, from O.N. veikr weak, cognate with O.E. wac weak, pliant, soft, from P.Gmc. *waikwaz yield, *wikanan bend (Cf. O.S. wek, Swed. vek, M.Du. weec, Du. week weak, soft, tender, O.H.G. weih …   Etymology dictionary

  • weak´en|er — weak|en «WEE kuhn», transitive verb. to make weak or weaker: »You can weaken tea by adding water. –v.i. 1. to grow or become weak or weaker. 2. to take a less firm attitude; give way: »We are almost to the top of the mountain; let s not weaken… …   Useful english dictionary

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