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From Middle English weik, waik, from Old Norse veikr (weak), from Proto-Germanic *waikwaz (weak, yielded, pliant, bendsome), from Proto-Indo-European *weyk- (to bend, wind). Cognate with Old English wāc (weak, bendsome), Saterland Frisian wook (soft, gentle, tender), West Frisian weak (soft), Dutch week (soft, weak), German weich (weak, soft), Swedish vek (weak, pliant), Icelandic veikur (bendsome, weak). Related to Old English wīcan (to yield)



weak (comparative weaker, superlative weakest)

  1. Lacking in force (usually strength) or ability.
    The child was too weak to move the boulder.
    They easily guessed his weak computer password.
    • Shakespeare
      a poor, infirm, weak, and despised old man
    • Dryden
      weak with hunger, mad with love
  2. Unable to sustain a great weight, pressure, or strain.
    a weak timber; a weak rope
  3. Unable to withstand temptation, urgency, persuasion, etc.; easily impressed, moved, or overcome; accessible; vulnerable.
    weak resolutions; weak virtue
    • Joseph Addison, The Fair Petinent Act I, scene I:
      Guard thy heart / On this weak side, where most our nature fails.
  4. Dilute, lacking in taste or potency.
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 2, in The Mirror and the Lamp[1]:
      That the young Mr. Churchills liked—but they did not like him coming round of an evening and drinking weak whisky-and-water while he held forth on railway debentures and corporation loans. Mr. Barrett, however, by fawning and flattery, seemed to be able to make not only Mrs. Churchill but everyone else do what he desired.
    We were served stale bread and weak tea.
  5. (grammar) Displaying a particular kind of inflection, including:
    1. (Germanic languages, of verbs) Regular in inflection, lacking vowel changes and having a past tense with -d- or -t-.
    2. (Germanic languages, of nouns) Showing less distinct grammatical endings.
    3. (Germanic languages, of adjectives) Definite in meaning, often used with a definite article or similar word.
  6. (chemistry) That does not ionize completely into anions and cations in a solution.
    a weak acid;  a weak base
  7. (physics) One of the four fundamental forces associated with nuclear decay.
  8. (slang) Bad or uncool.
    This place is weak.
  9. (mathematics, logic) Having a narrow range of logical consequences; narrowly applicable. (Often contrasted with a strong statement which implies it.)
  10. Resulting from, or indicating, lack of judgment, discernment, or firmness; unwise; hence, foolish.
    • Milton
      If evil thence ensue, / She first his weak indulgence will accuse.
  11. Not having power to convince; not supported by force of reason or truth; unsustained.
    The prosecution advanced a weak case.
    • Milton
      convinced of his weak arguing
  12. Lacking in vigour or expression.
    a weak sentence; a weak style
  13. Not prevalent or effective, or not felt to be prevalent; not potent; feeble.
    • Shakespeare
      weak prayers
  14. (stock exchange) Tending towards lower prices.
    a weak market; wheat is weak at present
  15. (photography) Lacking contrast.
    a weak negative



Derived termsEdit


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West FrisianEdit


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  1. soft