Calque of German schwaches Verb, equivalent to weak + verb.
weak verb (plural weak verbs)
- (grammar) One of a class of Germanic verbs which use a dental affix appended to the stem to indicate tense; a Germanic weak verb.
1866, William Francis Collier, A Grammar of the English Language, with a Sketch of its History, etc., Edinburgh: Thomas Laurie, OCLC 776637113, page 36:
A Weak Verb adds d, ed, or t, to the Present Tense, to make the Past Tense; as, invite, invited; betray, betrayed; step, stept.
- (grammar, linguistics) A member of a "weak" class in a language with two or more verb classes.
2009, Charles Häberl, The Neo-Mandaic Dialect of Khorramshahr, Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, page 177:
Three basic root consonant classes exist: the strong verb, roots with weak initial root consonant (I-weak verbs), roots with weak final consonants (III-weak verbs), and a composite class...
- (grammar) A verb the conjugation of which is regular.
1998, Katrin Linder, “Overgeneralization revisited: the case of German past participles”, in Ray Fabri, Albert Ortmann, and Teresa Parodi, editors, Models of inflection, Tübingen: M. Niemeyer, page 161:
Storage clearly is assumed for irregular verb forms. But what about regular or weak verb forms?
- Although some descriptions of grammar use weak verb as a synonym for regular verb, many grammarians consider this usage incorrect or imprecise (for instance, tell is a Germanic weak verb, yet its past tense and past participle forms are irregular: told and told).