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)
- 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.
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)
- With little strength or force
with little strength or force