Definition of feeble in US English:

feeble

adjective

  • 1Lacking physical strength, especially as a result of age or illness.

    ‘my legs are very feeble after the flu’
    • ‘She tried to pull it open even though she knew that there was no way it was going to come open by her feeble strength.’
    • ‘Weak and feeble, their gray feathers were sprinkled with fine grains of white salt.’
    • ‘Our sin makes us feeble and craven, and we long to flee from the liberty of the sons of God; but where now can we go?’
    • ‘A small feeble middle aged man, wearing a white coat and glasses.’
    • ‘But I'm convinced that what it releases is just my feeble reservoir of strength.’
    • ‘Yet what force on earth is weaker than the feeble strength of one?’
    • ‘Truth be told, it's great and, weak and feeble as I can be, I love it.’
    • ‘Occasionally she would have a fit of coughing, her body's very feeble last attempts at expelling her illness.’
    • ‘Sometimes the pills make me feel faint and feeble.’
    • ‘Britain's hold on the colonies, though, ‘was the grip of a tired and feeble old man’.’
    • ‘It's too easy to choose the weakest, most feeble opponent and it's usually more about your own insecurities than a real challenge to combat.’
    • ‘Eighty-year-old Lucy is a small feeble woman, but what she lacks in physical strength, she makes up for in character.’
    • ‘Lacking any access to the strenuous life of the outdoors, they would be physically feeble.’
    • ‘Today this peerless coach lies feeble and weak wanting assistance to meet his illness.’
    • ‘He cries weakly, the effort clearly straining his feeble body.’
    • ‘They have already cast an evil spell over the weak and feeble King Henry.’
    • ‘After that, I was far too weak and feeble to lift a glass.’
    • ‘Protagonists are helpless and feeble, benighted, physically weak and powerless.’
    • ‘She looks so weak and feeble from all her depression, but there's a strength in her now that was never there before.’
    • ‘Upon seeing the seemingly weak and feeble counterpart behind him, he merely turned his attention back to blocking the other two and trying to escape.’
    weak, weakly, weakened, puny, wasted, frail, infirm, delicate, sickly, ailing, unwell, poorly, failing, helpless, powerless, impotent, enfeebled, enervated, debilitated, incapacitated, effete
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    1. 1.1 (of a sound) faint.
      ‘his voice sounded feeble and far away’
      • ‘There was a distinct amount of light filtering around the blinds and, through the window, the first feeble sounds of the dawn chorus.’
      • ‘It was surprising how feeble Wills's replies sounded.’
      • ‘Jackson took one look at her afflicted walk, and scooped her up in his arms, ignoring her feeble cry of protest.’
      • ‘The mother made me literally force-feed him, shoving puréed food into his mouth as he cried piteously in feeble protest.’
      • ‘When asked what her strengths are she adopts a deliberately feeble voice and says, ‘I try really hard.’’
      • ‘No matter how powerful and commanding your voice, it always sounds weak and feeble after loud music and graphics on a big screen, but the drama that was about to unfold really was a jarring contrast.’
      • ‘He didn't realize how much it hurt until I gave out a feeble cry.’
      • ‘A little head peeped out of the broken egg, making a feeble sound.’
      • ‘With a feeble murmur her head drooped backward from a sudden spell of dizziness.’
      • ‘We suddenly heard a feeble clang of the gate - like someone was knocking, but not very hard.’
      • ‘Her voice was the volume of a hamster's adorable, feeble squeak.’
      • ‘The computer beeped and then made a feeble sound.’
      • ‘With a feeble squeak, his knees buckled, and he tumbled into a wall, eyes wide with shock.’
      faint, dim, weak, pale, soft, subdued, muted, indistinct, unclear, vague
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    2. 1.2 Lacking strength of character.
      ‘she overreacted in such a feeble, juvenile way’
      • ‘Janes's budget was obviously restricted, but this is no excuse for a feeble script.’
      • ‘To do so is a common but intellectually feeble move, itself a defence against uncomfortable reality.’
      • ‘In this time of war and destruction, a fearful thought, a threatening glance, were common and yet they still played with a weak mind or a feeble soul.’
      • ‘Other performers, again, are remarkable for vivacity of action and elocution, who nevertheless are felt to be feeble and ineffective in rousing an audience to emotion.’
      • ‘It has been known for years that the test is illogical and is a joke, but they have enough clout to be able to persuade a weak government and feeble ministers.’
      • ‘Until recently, the concern had been that the recovery in the euro zone was so pallid and feeble that the big euro zone economies could not take a rate increase.’
      • ‘Worse than the comedy, however, are the director's feeble attempts at character building.’
      • ‘The limp untheatricality and stale visual aesthetic of the production are feeble responses to the elemental power and ecstatic lyricism of Wagner's score.’
      • ‘And on it goes, each lame joke greeted with feeble, self-regarding applause and laughter that comes like a slow belch.’
      • ‘The independent counsel's unprecedented challenge to the presidency evoked the most feeble and cowardly response from these quarters.’
      • ‘It may have been too early to celebrate a nascent political vitality that remains, for now, too feeble and limited to convince that democracy is finally within our grasp.’
      • ‘A Nietzschean may see it as a lie with which the feeble and timid console themselves for their inability to seize life as it should be seized.’
      • ‘I can't lay the blame on the police, they are just doing as they are told, and are probably as sick of the system as me, but I strongly lay it on our feeble and weak justice system today.’
      • ‘So far, the Bank of England's attempts to slow the consumer boom here look to have been as feeble as placing matchsticks in the path of an oncoming train.’
      • ‘For a representative of a party caricatured for being rather feeble and spineless, he has been strikingly resolute throughout the crisis.’
      • ‘His feeble attempt to strengthen the government's image failed.’
      • ‘Much of what constitutes educative efforts in Christian communities today is bland, feeble, and ineffectual.’
      cowardly, craven, faint-hearted, spineless, spiritless, lily-livered, chicken-livered, pigeon-hearted
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    3. 1.3 Failing to convince or impress.
      ‘a feeble excuse’
      • ‘As my physics teacher wrote of my feeble efforts, years ago, ‘You can do better than this.’’
      • ‘These sound pretty feeble reasons for Tony Blair to flunk the great test of his leadership.’
      • ‘Nor are they convinced by the administration's decision on Wednesday to lower the terror alert from orange to yellow, a rather feeble attempt to demonstrate the wisdom of this war.’
      • ‘Some of your ideas might sound feeble, even to your own ears.’
      • ‘When I re-read it in later years I realized that the plot was unrealistic, the dialogue feeble and the characterization nil.’
      • ‘We were always agreed, in good Augustinian fashion, that in a fallen world our best is but a faint intimation of, a feeble gesture toward, what ought to be.’
      • ‘And there always seems to be some feeble excuse or other in an attempt to defend their illicit actions, rather than admitting that most of them are just downright bad.’
      • ‘You'd end up writing a very pale and feeble imitation of a novel if you did that.’
      • ‘I don't care if it's part of underground culture or whatever other feeble excuse you've got, it's just plain rude.’
      • ‘I didn't want to ask to sleep next to her because the words sounded feeble in my head, like a child was saying them.’
      • ‘It always sounds so pathetic when you refer to it, like some sort of feeble attempt to impress.’
      • ‘But of course, we all know that this feeble rubbish is only a weak-kneed attempt to be amusing.’
      • ‘But was there any reason besides political correctness to produce such a feeble, boring piece in the first place?’
      • ‘The feeble excuses some people try to swing are funny.’
      • ‘On the contrary, the arguments are vague, slippery, feeble, circular or false.’
      • ‘Anyway, on top of that well, I started getting these - I suppose ‘bad vibes’ is all I can describe them as, but that sounds so feeble.’
      • ‘I could tell you that I only cry when I'm very sad or hurt, but those are feeble excuses, inadequate reasons for condoning my shameful crime.’
      • ‘But the comedy is slack, the song lyrics feeble, the pace torpid.’
      • ‘And journalists who are trying to get him to talk are getting a particularly feeble excuse for why he won't.’
      • ‘However, those campaigns were no more than the feeble shouting of the weak, and did not impact the security and interests of other countries.’
      ineffective, ineffectual, unsuccessful, inadequate, unconvincing, implausible, unsatisfactory, poor, weak, inept, tame, paltry, shallow, thin, flimsy, insubstantial
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Origin

Middle English: from Old French fieble, earlier fleible, from Latin flebilis ‘lamentable’, from flere ‘weep’.

Pronunciation

feeble

/ˈfēbəl//ˈfibəl/