Definition of infirm in English:



  • 1Not physically or mentally strong, especially through age or illness:

    ‘those who were old or infirm’
    ‘elderly and infirm people’
    ‘care for the infirm’
    • ‘Well the sick and infirm crawled out of their beds to play this fine course, but of course they didn't play it very well.’
    • ‘We'd rather believe that health care is all about healing the sick, helping the infirm and comforting the afflicted.’
    • ‘Most of the camp's best defenders were absent, out on a hunting trip; the population mainly comprised women, children, and aged or infirm men.’
    • ‘Mentally and physically infirm, he stayed in the jail lobby for three days before anyone noticed him.’
    • ‘Norwegian scabies occurs predominantly in elderly, infirm, or immunosuppressed people and in those with mental illness.’
    • ‘Soon the sick and infirm from all over the country were arriving at his door in Clonmore.’
    • ‘One other category springs to mind - those who are too young, old, sick and infirm to move at all.’
    • ‘David Rigby had worked at Pinderfields Hospital, Wakefield for six years when, one night in June, he sneaked into the ward where the infirm pensioner was bedridden.’
    • ‘There were not even stretchers or wheelchairs to carry the sick and infirm.’
    • ‘Furthermore, the home was failing to create an environment where mentally ill and physically infirm people could properly be cared for and safely live alongside each other.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, here's the story of a special smart couch for the sick or infirm that is designed to recognize who is sitting in it, and help them to perform various tasks.’
    • ‘There are also plans for an eight-bed care facility for elderly, mentally infirm residents, which will be run by Pembrokeshire County Council.’
    • ‘A constant core activity is humanitarian aid - providing medicine and care for the sick, transporting the infirm, buying bricks or roofing material to repair housing.’
    • ‘They have spent much of the past 48 hours trying to get the sick, trying to get the infirm, trying to get the elderly off this island.’
    • ‘The firm also wants to build a new 60-bed nursing home with additional elderly, mentally infirm places.’
    • ‘The development will include an elderly and mentally infirm unit, and 55 residential flats on land adjacent to the cricket ground.’
    • ‘The Windsor unit cares for seven residents who are mentally infirm and are suffering from Alzheimer's Disease or other types of dementia.’
    • ‘This was a medieval religious foundation which, until the Reformation, had also provided a school for the sons of its members and almshouses for the sick and infirm.’
    • ‘Ballinrobe has been seeking a home for the elderly infirm since 1971 and an announcement last year that money had been allocated for the purchase of a site raised expectations.’
    • ‘I intend to give a narrative verdict and my finding is that Mr Bamford died as a result of an attack by a mentally infirm individual.’
    frail, weak, feeble, enfeebled, weakly, debilitated, decrepit, bedridden
    ill, unwell, sick, sickly, poorly, indisposed, in declining health, in poor health, failing, ailing
    doddering, doddery, tottering, wobbly, unsteady, unstable
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1archaic (of a person or their judgement) weak; irresolute:
      ‘he was infirm of purpose’
      • ‘Keenly sensitive to these insults, Raglan had to grapple with a French command whose sense of purpose seemed infirm.’
      • ‘While standing for an expanded trade unionism the left has to carefully but firmly distinguish itself from their Congress' infirm vision.’
      • ‘A court cannot grant finality to a constitutionally infirm judgment.’
      • ‘Too distrustful to delegate his responsibility to his ministers, he was too infirm of will to strike out and follow a consistent course for himself.’


Late Middle English (in the general sense ‘weak, frail’): from Latin infirmus, from in- not + firmus firm.