Etymology 1Edit

From weak +‎ -ly; compare Old English wāclīċ (weak; ignoble; mean), and Old Norse veikligr (weakly; sick); both ultimately from Proto-Germanic *waikalīkaz (weakly; weak).


weakly (comparative weaklier, superlative weakliest)

  1. Frail, sickly or of a delicate constitution; weak.
    • 1885, I lay in weakly case and confined to my bed for four months before I was able to rise and health returned to me. — Sir Richard Burton, The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night, Night 18
    • 1889, I'd always been but weakly, / And my baby was just born; / A neighbour minded her by day, / I minded her till morn. — WB Yeats, ‘The Ballad of Moll Magee’
    • 1922, Virginia Woolf, Jacob's Room Chapter 1
      "Oh, a huge crab," Jacob murmured—and begins his journey on weakly legs on the sandy bottom.

Etymology 2Edit

From Middle English weykly, equivalent to weak +‎ -ly. Compare Old High German weihlīcho (weakly), Middle English wocliche, wokli, wacliche (both from Proto-Germanic *waikalīkō).


weakly (comparative more weakly, superlative most weakly)

  1. With little strength or force