Definition of foible in US English:

foible

noun

  • 1A minor weakness or eccentricity in someone's character.

    ‘they have to tolerate each other's little foibles’
    • ‘Isherwood's bright-eyed alertness, his lack of malice, his genial delight in the foibles of others all make him lovable.’
    • ‘To read him, one feels, is to know him, foibles and all.’
    • ‘He is certainly an avuncular figure, more paternal than patriarchal, yet even his faults and foibles are masculine in character.’
    • ‘Character faults and foibles surface slowly and are dealt with compassionately.’
    • ‘Do you think they just have a screenwriting computer programme that builds in all these character flaws and foibles?’
    • ‘Sometimes human foibles are key in drug discovery.’
    • ‘The CEOs of underperforming companies do tend to develop all kinds of foibles, tics, and unpleasant mannerisms.’
    • ‘These foibles include our urge to chase the latest investment fad and doggedly hanging on to losers.’
    • ‘Eca de Queiros exposed the vices and foibles of the middle classes in Portugal and the Maias is a classic example of this.’
    • ‘Throughout the work, he debunks theories and rituals, and pokes sly fun at other writers and the foibles of his own characters.’
    • ‘The film is likewise unsympathetic to their foibles.’
    • ‘Both characters have their foibles and strengths; both have suffered greatly; both deserve the house and a second chance.’
    • ‘But such foibles are useful only if they are exploited.’
    • ‘It is three pages long and goes into quite a lot of detail covering all of James' little eccentricities and foibles.’
    • ‘Centre Court samples the understated foibles of the Henman character’
    • ‘The promising premise soon falters, with the striking central character's foibles never really fully realized or explained.’
    • ‘And she amuses us with the foibles of human characters we too can recognize as belonging to the world around us.’
    • ‘As humans, we have numerous foibles and/or weaknesses.’
    • ‘They have foibles and desires and worries and dislikes.’
    • ‘Men of large vision often display outsized foibles as well.’
    weakness, weak point, weak spot, failing, shortcoming, flaw, imperfection, blemish, fault, defect, frailty, infirmity, inadequacy, limitation
    View synonyms
  • 2Fencing
    The weaker part of a sword blade, from the middle to the point.

    Compare with forte
    • ‘The principle of defence, being the opposition of forte to foible, is still applicable today.’
    • ‘Again footwork is often required to create the correct distance to allow you to parry the foible of the attacking blade.’
    • ‘He parries with his foible when a feint is close but his real defense is his feet.’
    • ‘This technique begins at the instant when the foible of the adversary's blade is against the forte of your blade.’

Origin

Late 16th century (as an adjective in the sense ‘feeble’): from obsolete French, in Old French fieble (see feeble). Both noun senses also formerly occurred as senses of the word feeble and all date from the 17th century.

Pronunciation

foible

/ˈfɔɪbəl//ˈfoibəl/