Definition of vulnerable in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈvəln(ə)rəb(ə)l/


1Susceptible to physical or emotional attack or harm: we were in a vulnerable position small fish are vulnerable to predators
More example sentences
  • There is an issue as to the extent to which he remains vulnerable to drug abuse and self harm.
  • The economy is vulnerable to a rise in the euro exchange rate or in interest rates.
  • The inmates say the new prisons leave them isolated and vulnerable to abuse by guards.
helpless, defenseless, powerless, impotent, weak, susceptible
1.1(Of a person) in need of special care, support, or protection because of age, disability, or risk of abuse or neglect: employees must be better trained in how to deal with vulnerable young people
More example sentences
  • Social services provides round the clock support to vulnerable people of all ages, from babies to the very old.
  • In early 1996, he was hailed as the man who could save New York's most vulnerable children.
  • It's not only unpleasant events, but also some happy ones, that can be stressful to a vulnerable child.
1.2 Bridge (Of a partnership) liable to higher penalties, either by convention or through having won one game toward a rubber.
Example sentences
  • A side which has already won one game towards the current rubber is said to be vulnerable.



Pronunciation: /ˈvəlnər(ə)bəlnəs/
Example sentences
  • Someone who isn't afraid to express her true feelings and communicate openly at the risk of exposing her vulnerableness.
  • The emotions that the sculpture evokes are fear and vulnerableness.
  • The nuts, on the leading screw pair in the feeder have a long service life because they are made of tin bronze to avoid vulnerableness.


Pronunciation: /-blē/
Example sentences
  • The figures stand vulnerably palms out - ready for contact with the viewer.
  • It's a powerfully refreshing and vulnerably human moment.
  • They seem lost in their memories and frequently look pained by time and the twentieth century: troubled by roads and ceaseless changes; made vulnerably quaint.


Early 17th century: from late Latin vulnerabilis, from Latin vulnerare 'to wound', from vulnus 'wound'.

  • This comes from late Latin vulnerabilis, from vulnus ‘wound’. The word appeared later than its opposite invulnerable which is late 16th century.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: vul·ner·a·ble

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