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From Middle English strengthe, from Old English strengþu (strength), from Proto-West Germanic *strangiþu (strongness; strength), equivalent to strong +‎ -th. Cognate with Dutch strengte (strength), German Low German Strengde, Strengte (harshness; rigidity; strictness; severity).



strength (countable and uncountable, plural strengths)

  1. The quality or degree of being strong.
    It requires great strength to lift heavy objects.
    • c. 1605, William Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act V, Scene 5,[1]
      Our castle’s strength will laugh a siege to scorn.
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 5, in The Mirror and the Lamp:
      He was thinking; but the glory of the song, the swell from the great organ, the clustered lights, […], the height and vastness of this noble fane, its antiquity and its strength—all these things seemed to have their part as causes of the thrilling emotion that accompanied his thoughts.
    Antonym: weakness
  2. The intensity of a force or power; potency.
    He had the strength of ten men.
  3. The strongest part of something; that on which confidence or reliance is based.
    • 1611, King James Version of the Bible, Psalm 46.1,[2]
      God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
    • 1649, Jeremy Taylor, The Great Examplar of Sanctity and Holy Life according to the Christian Institution, London: Francis Ash, Part 1, Section 4, Discourse 2, p. 66,[3]
      [] certainly there is not in the world a greater strength against temptations, then is deposited in an obedient understanding [] .
  4. A positive attribute.
    We all have our own strengths and weaknesses.
    Antonym: weakness
  5. (obsolete) An armed force, a body of troops.
  6. (obsolete) A strong place; a stronghold.
    • 1674, John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book 7, lines 140-143,[6]
      All like himself rebellious, by whose aid
      This inaccessible high strength, the seat
      Of Deitie supream, us dispossest,
      He trusted to have seis’d []


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strength (third-person singular simple present strengths, present participle strengthing, simple past and past participle strengthed)

  1. (obsolete) To strengthen (all senses). [12th-17th c.]
    • 1526, [William Tyndale, transl.], The Newe Testamẽt [] (Tyndale Bible), [Worms, Germany: Peter Schöffer], OCLC 762018299, Colossians j:[11], folio cclviiii, verso:
      ſtrengthed with all myght / thꝛowe hys gloꝛious power / vnto all pacience / and longe ſufferynge with ioyfulnes
    • 1529, John Frith, A piſtle to the Chriſten reader [] [7]:
      Then ſhalt thow perceave what it meaneth that the power of this wretched monſtre / muſt be ſtrengthed / by anothers power and not by his awne.
    • 1550, Edward Halle, “King Henry the viij.”, in The Vnion of the Two Noble and Illuſtre Famelies of Lancaſtre and Yoꝛke[8], page 1271:
      In witnes wherof we haue cauſed this pꝛeſent wꝛiting to be ſtrengthed with the ſeal of our facultie []