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Alternative formsEdit


From Middle English weyk, wayk, 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), Norwegian veik (weak), Swedish vek (weak, pliant), Icelandic veikur (bendsome, weak). Related to Old English wīcan (to yield). Doublet of week and wick.[1]

(This etymology is missing or incomplete. Please add to it, or discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium. Particularly: “The irregular pattern PIE *k > Proto-Germanic *k is left unexplained”)



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.
  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
    • 1703, Nicholas Rowe, The Fair Penitent 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.
  11. Not having power to convince; not supported by force of reason or truth; unsustained.
    The prosecution advanced a weak case.
  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.
  14. (stock exchange) Tending towards lower prices.
    a weak market; wheat is weak at present
  15. (photography) Lacking contrast.
    a weak negative



Derived termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


  1. ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2023), “weak”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.


West FrisianEdit


From Old Frisian wāk, from Proto-West Germanic *waikw.




  1. (Clay) soft


Inflection of weak
uninflected weak
inflected weake
comparative weaker
positive comparative superlative
predicative/adverbial weak weaker it weakst
it weakste
indefinite c. sing. weake weakere weakste
n. sing. weak weaker weakste
plural weake weakere weakste
definite weake weakere weakste
partitive weaks weakers

Alternative formsEdit

Further readingEdit

  • weak (I)”, in Wurdboek fan de Fryske taal (in Dutch), 2011