Definition of weak in English:

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Pronunciation: /wiːk/


1Lacking the power to perform physically demanding tasks; having little physical strength or energy: she was recovering from flu, and was very weak
More example sentences
  • Of course, I had no power and I was very weak physically, so I felt very helpless and exposed.
  • When the woman was asked why she drank so much malted milk, she explained that her weak physical state made it difficult for her to cook, so she just drank milk for nutrition.
  • Recently, I began to feel weak with little strength in my legs.
frail, feeble, puny, fragile, delicate, weakly;
infirm, sick, sickly, shaky, debilitated, incapacitated, ailing, indisposed, decrepit, enervated, tired, fatigued, exhausted, spent, worn out
informal weedy
1.1Lacking power or influence: the central government had grown too weak to impose order (as plural noun the weak) the new king used his powers to protect the weak
More example sentences
  • One of those lessons is how weak Britain's influence has been over the American administration.
  • Or is it that they were raised by a strong father figure and a weak female influence?
  • Education levels, at least higher education levels, have a mixed and somewhat weak influence on rural income growth rates.
1.2(Of a team or military force) containing too few members or members of insufficient quality: their problems arose from fielding weak teams in league matches
More example sentences
  • This may raise a few eyebrows, but it is not the fault of an individual to be a member of a weak team.
  • The team is so weak at cornerback that forcing the action in the opponent's backfield is the only way it can succeed.
  • Having a weak team represent the league would be like sending a donkey to race against thoroughbreds.
1.3(Of a faculty or part of the body) not able to fulfil its functions properly: he had a weak stomach
More example sentences
  • He has been left with slurred speech, and the left side of his body is weak after his brain was damaged.
  • The arms may feel weak, the patient no longer being able to lift heavy objects.
  • You may have a weak immune system.
1.4Of a low standard; performing or performed badly: the choruses on this recording are weak
More example sentences
  • Although too weak for NBA standards, he is certainly not a liability on the defensive end.
  • A pessimistic view would be that it is a question for weak students to do badly, average students to avoid, and for good students to prove.
  • You know, when you're in a police force or in a firefighting unit, who the weak guys on your team are.
1.5Not convincing or logically forceful: the argument is an extremely weak one a weak plot
More example sentences
  • Almost as bad is that it's artistically and logically weak.
  • Although it has a superficial sheen, the film is mired in structural errors, weak plot contrivances and flimsy characterisation.
  • For decades, such films were low-grade romances with weak plots interfused with 20-odd musical outbursts.
unconvincing, untenable, tenuous, implausible, unsatisfactory, slight, poor, inadequate, thin, transparent;
unsound, feeble, flimsy, lame, hollow
informal pathetic
1.6Exerting only a small force: a weak magnetic field
More example sentences
  • In many ways, the force of gravity is extremely weak.
  • In fact, scientists could and did show that gravity was too weak a force to account for the movement of continents.
  • But even after nearly 90 years the theory remains notoriously hard to test because gravity is such a weak force.
2Liable to break or give way under pressure; easily damaged: the salamander’s tail may be broken off at a weak spot near the base
More example sentences
  • Bones with osteoporosis are weak and break easily.
  • Breeders argue that the tails will be poor, weak, easily damaged things, which will need to be amputated anyway, because they're sure to be injured.
  • This problem makes your bones weak, so they break easily.
2.1Lacking the force of character to hold to one’s own decisions, beliefs, or principles; irresolute: he was not weak or a compromiser
More example sentences
  • Refs aren't such weak characters that they would allow their impartiality to be compromised on this basis.
  • Chelmsford, a man of weak character and mediocre talents, marched into Zululand only to suffer one of the most humiliating defeats in British military history at Isandlwana.
  • In the myth-making of the Middle East, it allowed the West to be portrayed as weak and irresolute.
irresolute, spineless, craven, cowardly, pusillanimous, timorous, timid, indecisive, ineffectual, useless, inept, effete, meek, tame, powerless, ineffective, impotent, namby-pamby, soft, lily-livered, faint-hearted
informal yellow, weak-kneed, gutless, yellow-bellied, chicken-hearted, chicken
2.2(Of a belief) not held with conviction or intensity: their commitment to the project is weak
More example sentences
  • While large numbers of Americans professed religious belief, the depth of their conviction appeared weak.
  • He is a man of strong convictions and weak commitments.
  • So the question is which of the political groups will later benefit from the population's weak attitude.
2.3(Of prices or a market) having a downward tendency.
Example sentences
  • Along with other car makers, they've been hit by a weak market in Europe for new cars, depressing prices and profitability.
  • Lagged realisation prices and weak markets are likely to have affected its coal and industrial minerals businesses, but that won't outshine the good news.
  • Madden conceded that launching a crime title in the present weak market was ‘sailing into uncharted waters’, but said he was optimistic.
3Lacking intensity or brightness: a weak light from a single street lamp
More example sentences
  • With that movement, a silver necklace fell out of his robes, gleaming brightly in the weak light.
  • A weak light filtered through the ice and bright sunlight shone through the opening.
  • Though it was not very bright, his vision still ached from the weak light.
dim, pale, wan, faint, dull, feeble, muted
3.1(Of a liquid or solution) heavily diluted: a cup of weak coffee
More example sentences
  • Rinse off then give a final wipe over with a weak solution of vinegar and water to produce a sparkling surface free of streaks.
  • At this point you may want to water the plant with a weak solution of balanced plant food.
  • So this is my penance, she thinks, grimacing after taking another sip of the weak liquid.
watery, diluted, dilute, watered down, thinned down, thin, adulterated, tasteless, flavourless, bland, insipid, mild
informal wishy-washy
3.2Displaying or characterized by a lack of enthusiasm or energy: she managed a weak, nervous smile
More example sentences
  • Sandra shifted her feet nervously and displayed a weak, but timid, smile.
  • Kevin stood, brushing his hair out of his eyes with a weak, nervous smile.
  • They still tapped their wrists together, though with such weak enthusiasm that they barely even felt it.
unenthusiastic, feeble, half-hearted, limp, lame
3.3(Of features) not striking or strongly marked: his beard covered a weak chin
More example sentences
  • The higher angle of the camera hides my weak chin.
  • He had high cheekbones and did not have a weak chin.
  • He looked like a natural for comedy with his weak chin, receding hairline and a nose that looked as if someone had recently slammed a car door on it.
3.4(Of a syllable) unstressed.
Example sentences
  • Stressed syllables retain full vowel quality, whereas unstressed syllables may have weak vowels.
  • In many limericks extra weak syllables may be squeezed in almost anywhere, but we still recognise a familiar underlying metrical pattern.
  • He pioneered a style of French text-setting in which the accentuation of weak syllables made for unusual forcefulness and clarity.
4 Grammar Denoting a class of verbs in Germanic languages that form the past tense and past participle by addition of a suffix (in English, typically -ed).
Example sentences
  • Some phrasal verbs prefer a weak form (contrast The car sped up the hill and The car speeded up).
  • Old English verbs were grouped in two major groups: weak verbs and strong verbs.
  • Weak verbs correspond to modern English regular verbs.
5 Physics Relating to or denoting the weakest of the known kinds of force between particles, which acts only at distances less than about 10−15 cm, is very much weaker than the electromagnetic and the strong interactions, and conserves neither strangeness, parity, nor isospin.
Example sentences
  • Thus, the strengths of the electromagnetic, weak, and strong forces depend upon the energy at which they are measured.
  • A theory that unifies the electromagnetic force with the weak nuclear force was developed around 1970 by Glashow, Salaam, and Weinberg.
  • An experimentalist, he worked with synchrotrons to study the weak nuclear force and the structure of nuclear particles.



the weaker sex

[treated as singular or plural] dated Women regarded collectively.
Example sentences
  • Divorce devoid of valid reason is an injustice to the weaker sex.
  • Who will explain why women, despite being the weaker sex, are expected to compete against and alongside men in the Mumbai Marathon for a considerably lesser reward?
  • We say that women are the weaker sex but if women really choose to strike back, men won't be able to stand up.

the weakest link

The point at which a system, sequence, or organization is most vulnerable; the least dependable element or member: the replacement goalkeeper proved to be the team’s weakest link
More example sentences
  • This vulnerability may be the weakest link in the system as a whole given the rapid rate of automation in the industry over the last decade.
  • The user might often be the weakest link in the system.
  • Many contractors we work with believe that their marketing and sales efforts are the weakest link in their organizations.



Example sentences
  • Other countries have survived limp, weakish buffoons in power and have recovered in the next regime.
  • It seems quite happy to have a weakish dollar, so that will have an impact on the markets.
  • It was the 1930 series against a weakish MCC team captained by Harold Gilligan.


Old English wāc 'pliant', 'of little worth', 'not steadfast', reinforced in Middle English by Old Norse veikr, from a Germanic base meaning 'yield, give way'.

Words that rhyme with weak

antique, batik, beak, bespeak, bezique, bleak, boutique, cacique, caïque, cheek, chic, clique, creak, creek, critique, Dominique, eke, freak, geek, Greek, hide-and-seek, keek, Lalique, leak, leek, Martinique, meek, midweek, Mozambique, Mustique, mystique, oblique, opéra comique, ortanique, peak, Peake, peek, physique, pique, pratique, reek, seek, shriek, Sikh, sleek, sneak, speak, Speke, squeak, streak, teak, technique, tongue-in-cheek, tweak, unique, veronique, week, wreak

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: weak

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