- weake (obsolete)
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.
(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)
- Lacking in force (usually strength) or ability.
- The child was too weak to move the boulder.
- They easily guessed his weak computer password.
- c. 1603–1606, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of King Lear”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act III, scene ii]:
- a poor, infirm, weak, and despised old man
- 1700, [John] Dryden, “Palamon and Arcite: Or, The Knight’s Tale. In Three Books.”, in Fables Ancient and Modern; […], London: […] Jacob Tonson, […], →OCLC:
- weak with hunger, mad with love
- Unable to sustain a great weight, pressure, or strain.
- a weak timber; a weak rope
- 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.
- Dilute, lacking in taste or potency.
- 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 2, in The Mirror and the Lamp:
- 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.
- (grammar) Displaying a particular kind of inflection, including:
- (Germanic languages, of verbs) Regular in inflection, lacking vowel changes and having a past tense with -d- or -t-.
- (Germanic languages, of nouns) Showing less distinct grammatical endings.
- (Germanic languages, of adjectives) Definite in meaning, often used with a definite article or similar word.
- (chemistry) That does not ionize completely into anions and cations in a solution.
- a weak acid; a weak base
- (physics) One of the four fundamental forces associated with nuclear decay.
- (slang) Bad or uncool.
- This place is weak.
- (mathematics, logic) Having a narrow range of logical consequences; narrowly applicable. (Often contrasted with a strong statement which implies it.)
- Resulting from, or indicating, lack of judgment, discernment, or firmness; unwise; hence, foolish.
- 1667, John Milton, “Book IX”, in Paradise Lost. […], London: […] [Samuel Simmons], […], →OCLC; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: […], London: Basil Montagu Pickering […], 1873, →OCLC:
- If evil thence ensue, / She first his weak indulgence will accuse.
- Not having power to convince; not supported by force of reason or truth; unsustained.
- The prosecution advanced a weak case.
- 1671, John Milton, “The Third Book”, in Paradise Regain’d. A Poem. In IV Books. To which is Added, Samson Agonistes, London: […] J. M[acock] for John Starkey […], →OCLC:
- convinced of his weak arguing
- Lacking in vigour or expression.
- a weak sentence; a weak style
- Not prevalent or effective, or not felt to be prevalent; not potent; feeble.
- c. 1595–1596 (date written), William Shakespeare, “A Midsommer Nights Dreame”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act III, scene ii]:
- Thy threats have no more strength than her weak prayers.
- (stock exchange) Tending towards lower prices.
- a weak market; wheat is weak at present
- (photography) Lacking contrast.
- a weak negative
- (lacking in force or ability): feeble, frail, powerless, vincible, assailable, vulnerable
- (lacking in taste or potency): dilute, watery
- See also Thesaurus:weak
- (lacking in force or ability): healthy, powerful, robust, strong, invincible
- (lacking in taste or potency): potent, robust, strong
- (chemistry: that does not ionize completely): strong
- bring it weak
- the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak
- weak copyleft
- weak declension
- weak force
- weak in the knees
- weak interaction
- weak nuclear
- weak reference
- weak side
- weak sister
- weak sore
- weak spot
- weak tea
- weak typing
- weak verb
- weaker sex
- weaker vessel
- weakest link
- The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.
- ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2023), “weak”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.
From Old Frisian wāk, from Proto-West Germanic *waikw.
|Inflection of weak|
- wêk (Wood)
- “weak (I)”, in Wurdboek fan de Fryske taal (in Dutch), 2011