Definition of weak in English:

weak

adjective

  • 1Lacking the power to perform physically demanding tasks; lacking physical strength and energy.

    ‘she was recovering from the flu and was very weak’
    • ‘Of course, I had no power and I was very weak physically, so I felt very helpless and exposed.’
    • ‘He loosened his grip, but now my knees were too weak to move.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The dish is good for those suffering from a cough, fatigue or anyone in a weak physical condition.’
    • ‘Her legs were weak from lack of exercise.’
    • ‘Some women may also see themselves as incompetent and physically weak.’
    • ‘Unfortunately that took much of his strength leaving him weak and tired, but he refused to rest just yet.’
    • ‘Recently, I began to feel weak with little strength in my legs.’
    • ‘He endured years of senseless, unfounded, unstopped bullying, knowing he was too physically weak to defeat his enemies, yet he tried.’
    • ‘He thought of moving inside where it would be cooler, but he felt too weak to move.’
    • ‘The condition left her confused, physically weak and exhausted.’
    • ‘She was physically weak but these letters reveal a strong-minded, manipulative woman.’
    • ‘These groups are physically weak and spend more time inside than the general population.’
    • ‘At the age of 49, I simply couldn't accept the doctor's prognosis that for the rest of my life I would be too weak to do physical labor.’
    • ‘I felt too weak to move, and too tired to care.’
    • ‘People who were weak were given hard physical exercises to do to build up their muscles.’
    • ‘Just because they were physically weak didn't make them mentally vulnerable.’
    • ‘I felt myself grow weak from the sudden loss of blood and I lost my grip on my sword.’
    • ‘He was too weak to move very much, expending any energy he had trying to breathe.’
    • ‘But by now they were physically weak from four days without food and water.’
    frail, feeble, puny, fragile, delicate, weakly
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Lacking political or social power or influence.
      ‘the central government had grown too weak to impose order’
      ‘the new king used his powers to protect the weak’
      • ‘The old order was too weak for either reforms or brute oppression.’
      • ‘British management, being its usual weak pathetic self, tried to please everyone all the time and lost the plot.’
      • ‘The deliberate assault on the weak is not the spirit of Socialism but of Fascism.’
      • ‘But they agree its new parliament, for the moment, will be too weak to meet expectations.’
      • ‘A knight was supposed to protect the weak and defend the Church against heretics of all shades.’
      • ‘In each case the ruling elites were chosen from weak minority groups in order to make their power dependent on the colonial power.’
      • ‘Sometimes they left the sick and weak behind in order to make it through.’
      • ‘One of those lessons is how weak Britain's influence has been over the American administration.’
      • ‘The conviction that the strong are bound to prey on the weak, as dictated by the law of the jungle, is incompatible with the principle of competition.’
      • ‘The question here is a philosophical one: why is it necessary to have some men be brave enough to fight and honorable enough to fight to protect the weak, in order to have a society exist?’
      • ‘Yet he continually attempted to coax the board of directors into selecting weak artistic directors in order that he might influence the programming and selection of new singers.’
      • ‘Or is it that they were raised by a strong father figure and a weak female influence?’
      • ‘Such new leadership would have been weak and easily outmaneuvered by Musharraf, of course.’
      • ‘To its great shame, the United States has a pathetically weak labor law which makes it easy for employers to harass and punish workers who try to organize unions.’
      • ‘The government has been very weak in terms of clarifying the case.’
      • ‘Education levels, at least higher education levels, have a mixed and somewhat weak influence on rural income growth rates.’
    2. 1.2(of a crew, team, or army) containing too few members or members of insufficient quality.
      • ‘I know there are no weak teams and all the games will be hard but I genuinely believe we are the best team.’
      • ‘That is, a good player drafted to a weak team is likely to be sold to a strong team where more revenue can be generated.’
      • ‘This may raise a few eyebrows, but it is not the fault of an individual to be a member of a weak team.’
      • ‘This was a team that was weak when we finished last year.’
      • ‘A weak and ineffective Police force, to sum up, is a certain threat to the maintenance of law and order in this country, and the criminals know it.’
      • ‘As long as Pataudi was captain, he led with authority and distinction, marshalling a weak team against strong oppositions.’
      • ‘Their defense was weak, their special teams mediocre, their running game average.’
      • ‘But the overall verdict, delivered in the first police performance monitors published as part of a drive to tackle weak forces, is upbeat.’
      • ‘Having a weak team represent the league would be like sending a donkey to race against thoroughbreds.’
      • ‘So while neither player is an outstanding leader, they get credit for being major factors in leading a weak team into the upper division.’
      • ‘No longer burdened with the captaincy of a weak team, he is letting his bat do the talking as he has a new lease on life.’
      • ‘Although they had recently beaten the home side convincingly in the cup the opposition on that day had fielded a weak team.’
      • ‘The team is weak along the offensive line, so their return is critical.’
      • ‘His team simply cannot appear weak in comparison.’
      • ‘The team is so weak at cornerback that forcing the action in the opponent's backfield is the only way it can succeed.’
      • ‘Playing for a weak team did not diminish what Ramsey accomplished.’
      • ‘There are no weak teams left these days, and you need something extra to give you the edge - maybe a coach like Michael can do that.’
      • ‘I don't believe that Cork and the other teams were weak, but that Fermanagh were never given full credit for what they achieved.’
      • ‘They were a weak force, held together by little more than hatred.’
      • ‘And the truth is that there are no longer any weak teams at this level.’
      • ‘In both 1999 and 2001, Brazil sent a weak team to the competition and was embarrassed.’
    3. 1.3(of a faculty or part of the body) not able to fulfill its functions properly.
      ‘he had a weak stomach’
      • ‘We rely on our muscles to walk, lift objects and climb stairs. However, in space muscles become weaker when there is no gravity to overcome.’
      • ‘He has been left with slurred speech, and the left side of his body is weak after his brain was damaged.’
      • ‘You may have a weak immune system.’
      • ‘Smokers have a weak sense of smell, because cigarettes destroy the inner lining of the nose.’
      • ‘The arms may feel weak, the patient no longer being able to lift heavy objects.’
      • ‘The elderly lady was left with pains to her ribs and back, as well as high blood pressure and a weak heart.’
      • ‘Your legs feel so weak that you think they won't be able to support you.’
    4. 1.4Of a low standard; performing or performed badly.
      ‘the choruses on this recording are weak’
      • ‘That said, the coach admits that the team does have weak areas that need to be addressed, such as someone who consistently puts the puck in the net.’
      • ‘It has long been clear that the myth of auditor independence has been a weak link in the financial reporting chain.’
      • ‘But he's is a defensive liability, and the team already has enough weak defenders.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘What with David Seaman looking a hugely dominating presence at the back, this is looking like a team without a weak link.’
      • ‘They have what we can call ‘communicative competence’ even though their grammatical competence in Gaelic is weak.’
      • ‘Gordon Brown's Treasury must explain why eight UK government departments have recently been criticised by auditors for weak financial control.’
      • ‘Our waitress's command of English was weak, almost non-existent in fact, and our food arrived at strange intervals.’
      • ‘The Italian was rejected because of his weak grasp of English.’
      • ‘Despite some weak translation in the English subtitles, this is a powerful and elegant film.’
      • ‘Her English was weak, which was an incentive for me to work on my French.’
      • ‘Although too weak for NBA standards, he is certainly not a liability on the defensive end.’
      • ‘You know, when you're in a police force or in a firefighting unit, who the weak guys on your team are.’
      • ‘He was definitely weak in language skills in elementary school, as several tests show.’
    5. 1.5Not convincing or logically forceful.
      ‘the argument is an extremely weak one’
      ‘a weak plot’
      • ‘It's a weak supposition - unworthy of the sharp-witted Miss Bennet.’
      • ‘While the plot is pretty weak, it doesn't hurt the game too much.’
      • ‘The plot is weak and the film can't decide whether it's a road movie, a quest or a love story.’
      • ‘I liked the idea of the movie, with the whole ‘matrix’ thing, but in some parts I found the plot weak and predictable.’
      • ‘As well as affecting the way we judge other people, moods also influence our susceptibility to weak arguments.’
      • ‘I have tried to be fair, but where it seems to me that an argument is particularly strong or weak my convictions shine through.’
      • ‘Only two weak aspects of the book could be identified.’
      • ‘At the end, I was left wondering why they bothered to make the film, because the plot seemed weak to me.’
      • ‘A weak story, tepid characters, a confusion of plots and, to top it all, some terrible editing make this one of the worst reads of the month.’
      • ‘To no one's surprise, the plot is predictably weak, but who really cares if it's all just inconsequential fluff when the action's this much fun?’
      • ‘If on the other hand, at least a majority of the judges consider the evidence too weak for a conviction, they must acquit.’
      • ‘Its problems run a lot deeper than a weak, unoriginal plot or lame actors, however.’
      • ‘But it does rest on two weak assumptions steeped in a simplistic view of race.’
      • ‘A slow-moving film with a weak plot, it trudges its way to a disappointing finish and leaves you wondering why you bothered.’
      • ‘It has been premiered to mixed reviews, including criticism of a weak plot, and this is not really surprising.’
      • ‘For decades, such films were low-grade romances with weak plots interfused with 20-odd musical outbursts.’
      • ‘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 example, my years of teaching education policy have convinced me that the research basis for many popular reforms is weak at best.’
      • ‘And jurors are never accused of acting like vigilantes when they convict a defendant, no matter how weak the evidence.’
      • ‘The film moves along quickly enough but just as it gets going we are let down by a weak plot finish, the usual clichés, and a big feeling of disappointment.’
    6. 1.6Exerting only a small force.
      ‘a weak magnetic field’
      • ‘In fact, scientists could and did show that gravity was too weak a force to account for the movement of continents.’
      • ‘These interactions are held together principally by weak van der Waals forces.’
      • ‘But even after nearly 90 years the theory remains notoriously hard to test because gravity is such a weak force.’
      • ‘In many ways, the force of gravity is extremely weak.’
      • ‘Because of its low mass, its gravity is very weak.’
  • 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’
    • ‘The ice was melting, and soon it would be weak enough to break.’
    • ‘This crude mask gave some protection but its eye-piece proved to be very weak and easy to break - thus making the protective value of the helmet null and void.’
    • ‘It was still weak from having been broken the year before and I banged it on the steering wheel and it broke again.’
    • ‘The problem with the trees however lies with the fact that as young saplings they are very weak and susceptible to damage by vandals or simply by traffic or passers-by.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘If the lead gets snagged, the weak line breaks and you may get the rig back.’
    • ‘Just when treatment was beginning take effect, the arrival of a female zebra at the zoo caused him to run around in excitement, causing grave damage to his already weak hoof.’
    • ‘This problem makes your bones weak, so they break easily.’
    • ‘Trees and shrubs should also be checked and any dead, weak or damaged stems removed, as well as any old material that has fallen to the ground.’
    • ‘All willows are fast growing and short-lived, and their wood is notably weak and prone to breaking.’
    • ‘Bones with osteoporosis are weak and break easily.’
    • ‘Corticosteroids cause osteoporosis or softening of bones, making them weak and more easily fractured.’
    • ‘The fence was weak and was toppled easily by a small group of protesters with a rope.’
    1. 2.1Lacking the force of character to hold to one's own decisions, beliefs, or principles; irresolute.
      • ‘He is a bit weak for a main character; rather superficial and bland.’
      • ‘My father believed that our Tsar was weak and made wrong decisions.’
      • ‘Obese people often are shunned by society and blamed for having weak characters.’
      • ‘The only serious problem with the story is that, without spoiling anything, it makes one of the major characters look extremely weak.’
      • ‘In the beginning of the story Bilbo is a very weak character.’
      • ‘Their coach comes across as weak, making decisions to cater for the fading hero rather than the good of the team.’
      • ‘I have a morbid fear of being seen as weak, pathetic or girly.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I suppose I'm weak when it comes to confrontation like that.’
      • ‘I have a great cast; often Mark is portrayed as a small weak character, whereas I think he has an enormous ego.’
      • ‘Her character is weak and Steinbeck characterized her as an archetypical child, both capricious and malleable.’
      • ‘Many people in the world, including me, are so weak and fragile that they easily fall into temptation and make mistakes.’
      • ‘Most likely he expected me to be weak and unsure in carrying them out.’
      • ‘Therefore she absolutely worshipped her son although she had been greatly disappointed in his weak character.’
      • ‘He claimed that the Prime Minister was too weak to make a decision on his own.’
      • ‘Zeph was definitely not the wimpy, useless, weak coward that he had originally seemed and she found herself almost inexplicably drawn to him.’
      • ‘It basically makes him look like a weak, indecisive, craven leader.’
      • ‘In the myth-making of the Middle East, it allowed the West to be portrayed as weak and irresolute.’
      • ‘They are weak beings, easily controlled and manipulated.’
      • ‘Refs aren't such weak characters that they would allow their impartiality to be compromised on this basis.’
      • ‘She hated herself for being so weak in front of her parents.’
      • ‘Also, a lot of people misread Diane as a weak character; she's not.’
    2. 2.2(of a belief, emotion, or attitude) not held or felt with such conviction or intensity as to prevent its being abandoned or dispelled.
      ‘their commitment to the project is weak’
      • ‘I wanted to retreat, so scared was I that he might touch me and break my weak resistance.’
      • ‘He is a man of strong convictions and weak commitments.’
      • ‘While large numbers of Americans professed religious belief, the depth of their conviction appeared weak.’
      • ‘So the question is which of the political groups will later benefit from the population's weak attitude.’
    3. 2.3Not in a secure financial position.
      ‘people have no faith in weak banks’
      • ‘But WTO entry will throw open a wide range of markets, bringing a wave of competition for ailing state firms and weak financial institutions.’
      • ‘Instead, there was a persistent attack on the weak financial structures of all of the countries involved in the respective bailouts.’
      • ‘He also acknowledged that the insurer is in a weak financial position, and that policyholders' returns would be less robust than with competitor companies.’
      • ‘According to them, the bank's position was too weak to intervene because of its thin foreign exchange reserves.’
      • ‘At the time, the company had virtually run out of cash and had no leverage to borrow more from its banks because of its weak financial condition and heavy debt.’
      • ‘All recent financial crises in emerging markets have shown that weak banks and financial institutions worsen a currency crisis.’
      • ‘The country's economic position was extremely weak during that period.’
      • ‘The panel has stated that the financial projections made by the three weak banks for the next five years are too rosy.’
    4. 2.4(of prices or a market) having a downward tendency.
      • ‘Even excluding that shift, the labor market is weak, and chances of a drastic improvement anytime soon appear slim.’
      • ‘The company has been hit by weak markets, a change in accounting practices and the cancellation of a contract.’
      • ‘The markets still believe the view that the US wants the dollar to stay weak in order to boost its economic recovery prospects.’
      • ‘When the economy is weak, the homeless population expands.’
      • ‘Sales in the cosmetics business were down 27 per cent compared to the same period last year, reflecting a weak market.’
      • ‘‘Sterling has been weak and you would expect that to continue,’ he said.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The industry is still suffering from excess network capacity put in place during the boom years of the late 1990s, and prices are weak.’
      • ‘Madden conceded that launching a crime title in the present weak market was ‘sailing into uncharted waters’, but said he was optimistic.’
      • ‘Last week, we talked about why the dollar has been so weak against the euro.’
      • ‘But the big debate now in financial circles is about the weak dollar, whether it's good or bad, versus what a strong dollar should do to us, or for us.’
      • ‘But, Nationwide added, the market is usually weak in the late summer/early autumn period - a factor that contributed to the fall.’
      • ‘A weak dollar might turn off foreign investors and reduce critically needed overseas capital.’
      • ‘The index was dragged lower by weak financial and industrial stocks.’
      • ‘It's unlikely, say observers, especially during a weak market.’
      • ‘The investment bank has put its flotation plans on hold because of the weak market and business conditions.’
  • 3Lacking intensity or brightness.

    ‘a weak light from a single street lamp’
    • ‘As soon as Lana flipped on the switch, letting the weak light of a flickering lamp in the corner just barely illuminate the small room, Olivia let out a small gasp of shock.’
    • ‘She could see his face in the weak light from the front hall.’
    • ‘The flavour was weak and the texture was unnervingly gritty.’
    • ‘The weak cardamom flavour made it a less-than-exciting experience.’
    • ‘She turned around and watched him walk away; his light blonde hair sparkled faintly in the weak light of the alley.’
    • ‘I try to keep the second exposure in the 1 to 10 second range, but exposure time may be extended to several minutes if the light source is weak.’
    • ‘When eating the dish, don't forget to add some extra sauce to your plate, thus improving the sea cucumber's somewhat weak flavour.’
    • ‘A weak light filtered through the ice and bright sunlight shone through the opening.’
    • ‘The long chocolate strands flowed down his back and shoulder, small, dark waterfalls that shone in the weak light of the moon.’
    • ‘A weak, gray light filtered into Katherine's room the next morning, gradually bringing the young woman to the land of the living.’
    • ‘In the darkness of the room, a weak light started to glow.’
    • ‘With that movement, a silver necklace fell out of his robes, gleaming brightly in the weak light.’
    • ‘As they walked out into the weak light, Amanda turned to face Jordan.’
    • ‘He has already been up for a while, watching the sun as its weak rays break through the last misty hues of the night.’
    • ‘The stones sparkled as they caught the weak light from the car.’
    • ‘Only the moon and the stars provided me with light, and considering they are both millions of miles away it was only a dim, and weak light.’
    • ‘These were lit only by weak lamps attached infrequently to cold stone walls, and after dark rats roamed freely within the gutters and the waste.’
    • ‘The light is weak and watery and the air reeks of woodsmoke, but at least it is not raining, a blessing to those who must spend a long, laborious day harvesting olives ahead of the inevitable frost.’
    • ‘Though it was not very bright, his vision still ached from the weak light.’
    dim, pale, wan, faint, dull, feeble, muted
    View synonyms
    1. 3.1(of a liquid or solution) heavily diluted.
      ‘a cup of weak coffee’
      • ‘Drink was either weak tea or water drunk from old petrol tins.’
      • ‘However, grocery store vinegar is normally a 5% solution and is too weak to do the job.’
      • ‘As you know, Ann prefers her coffee very weak, so a single cafetière and a jug of hot water were sufficient for us both.’
      • ‘I'll have to forgo my coffee and get it from the office, which probably isn't a god idea since I hear that Harris makes weak coffee.’
      • ‘At this point you may want to water the plant with a weak solution of balanced plant food.’
      • ‘Once this is done, the resulting weak alcoholic liquid is distilled into tequila.’
      • ‘Mold can be cleaned off surfaces with a weak bleach solution.’
      • ‘However, I suspect one cup of weak coffee each day is likely to have only a marginal effect.’
      • ‘I don't consider myself a caffeine addict, but I do drink diet Coke every evening and probably a weak coffee every day or two on average.’
      • ‘For a mile I strolled along the river, the water the colour of weak tea, the short grass firm underfoot.’
      • ‘As Americans, we are used to drinking pots of weak coffee, diluted with milk and sugar.’
      • ‘So this is my penance, she thinks, grimacing after taking another sip of the weak liquid.’
      • ‘To remove heavy tarnish, difficult stains and corrosion: wash in hot, soapy water or a weak ammonia and water solution and rinse.’
      • ‘She drank the weak coffee she'd bought from the vending machine and watched the clock.’
      • ‘From very strong coffee, to very weak with lots of milk it is enjoyed in many kitchens.’
      • ‘A few seconds later, Tony came into the room with two plastic cups with brown liquid that tasted mildly of coffee, but was way too weak to be called coffee.’
      • ‘All he got was a cup of weak coffee and a stale bourbon.’
      • ‘Most of the spirits found for the lower classes were weak concoctions of fermented herbs and cheap grains, and tasted much like boiled mud.’
      • ‘Rinse off then give a final wipe over with a weak solution of vinegar and water to produce a sparkling surface free of streaks.’
      • ‘He takes a sip from the mug in front of him, which contains weak coffee.’
    2. 3.2(of an acid) only slightly ionized.
      • ‘Reactive release agents contain weak acids derived from vegetable oils or animal fats.’
      • ‘Another important use of the equilibrium constant concept is with weak acids.’
      • ‘In reaction 2, dissolved carbon dioxide combines with water to form carbonic acid (a weak acid).’
      • ‘These compounds get oxidized in the paper to form lactic, acetic, formic, and other weak acids.’
      • ‘The paleontologist and her colleagues removed mineral fragments from the interior of the femur by soaking it in a weak acid.’
      • ‘The most common buffers are mixtures of weak acids and their conjugate bases.’
    3. 3.3Displaying or characterized by a lack of enthusiasm or energy.
      ‘she managed a weak, nervous smile’
      • ‘I have to say that my experiences with people that have weak handshakes have been far from good ones.’
      • ‘The lady was evidently flattered by his offer and accepted in a weak and nervous voice as he kissed her hand.’
      • ‘Mr. Erickson-Moore stood behind me and wrenched the leaf-pole from my weak grip, breaking it in half over his knee as though it were a mere twig.’
      • ‘Then there were reminiscences over the good times the couple had together, which Jacob meets with a weak, embarrassed 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.’
      • ‘Amber couldn't help the faint blush, or the weak smile, as she nodded.’
      • ‘His voice wasn't weak, but it lacked its trademark strength and energy.’
      • ‘variety: too many examples of smile'’
      • ‘He tried to cast a weak, faint smile at me, and confusedly, shyly, I lowered my eyes.’
      • ‘Andy Roddie went closest to scoring for Peterhead just before the interval, but his weak free-kick was easily held by Colin Stewart.’
      • ‘I am incredibly appreciative, but manage to only muster a weak smile.’
      • ‘With considerable effort Emily turned around and sent Michael a weak smile that was just shy of halfhearted.’
      • ‘Sandra shifted her feet nervously and displayed a weak, but timid, smile.’
      • ‘She gave a weak smile and ran a hand through her hair nervously.’
      • ‘Roberts, looking for a second against his former club, stepped forward to take the spot kick but his weak shot was easily saved.’
      • ‘It was a half-hearted plea, accompanied by a weak smile.’
      • ‘At that point, however, his nerve deserts him and his weak shot is easily saved.’
      • ‘He looked at her and smiled a weak grin.’
      • ‘When asked what he might do now, he gave a weak smile and said: ‘I might take a holiday.’’
      • ‘I looked at him when he mouthed his insult to me, and all I could muster to give back was a weak smile that was aiming to be snide.’
      • ‘He looked at me warily and I gave him a weak smile.’
      • ‘However Saito's weak shot was easily cleared by Rachel Imison and the Hockeyroos held on to lead by a solitary goal at the break.’
    4. 3.4(of features) not striking or strongly marked.
      ‘his beard covered a weak chin’
      • ‘He had high cheekbones and did not have a weak chin.’
      • ‘His mother was irritated by his weak chin and hang-dog appearance.’
      • ‘In keeping with the association with babyish faces, weak chins are less common in movie villains than in more ‘innocent’ characters.’
      • ‘This figure's weak chin, hunched shoulders and humble demeanor contribute to the poignancy and humanity of the busts.’
      • ‘The higher angle of the camera hides my weak chin.’
      • ‘He was slight, with floppy hair and a weak chin hidden by a small beard.’
      • ‘A boy, no more than nineteen, with sideburns and a weak chin, muttered something in the ear of the man next to him, who sniggered.’
      • ‘An augmentation rhinoplasty is performed to build up the nose in the case of a flattened bridge or a weak nose tip.’
      • ‘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.’
    5. 3.5(of a syllable) unstressed.
      • ‘In many limericks extra weak syllables may be squeezed in almost anywhere, but we still recognise a familiar underlying metrical pattern.’
      • ‘Stressed syllables retain full vowel quality, whereas unstressed syllables may have weak vowels.’
      • ‘He pioneered a style of French text-setting in which the accentuation of weak syllables made for unusual forcefulness and clarity.’
      • ‘The schema would consist of an initial strong syllable followed by an unspecified number (including zero) of weak syllables.’
  • 4Grammar
    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); contrasted with strong.

    strong
    • ‘Old English verbs were grouped in two major groups: weak verbs and strong verbs.’
    • ‘Weak verbs correspond to modern English regular verbs.’
    • ‘Some phrasal verbs prefer a weak form (contrast The car sped up the hill and The car speeded up).’
  • 5Physics
    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.

    • ‘An experimentalist, he worked with synchrotrons to study the weak nuclear force and the structure of nuclear particles.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘To verify the theories, searches for some of these particles look to space, because particle accelerators are too weak to produce them.’
    • ‘The strong and weak nuclear coupling constants decrease with energy.’
    • ‘Those theories unite the electromagnetic and weak forces with the strong force that holds atomic nuclei together.’

Phrases

  • the weaker sex

    • derogatory, dated [treated as singular or plural]Women regarded collectively.

      • ‘We say that women are the weaker sex but if women really choose to strike back, men won't be able to stand up.’
      • ‘Today, they refuse to be patronized and hate being called the weaker sex.’
      • ‘Apparently Mr Brash likes to go easy on 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?’
      • ‘Under this Neanderthal new deal, the so-called weaker sex is predestined to bear the children, nurture their needs, and serve the warrior in whatever way he wants.’
      • ‘The fetal cells from a mother's offspring, survive in her blood stream, decades after childbirth and provide resistance to many diseases, and still we call women the weaker sex!’
      • ‘Yes, the chap is forever popular with the weaker sex.’
      • ‘No Victorian would hesitate to acknowledge the weaker sex's ‘natural’ attraction to pretty things, especially if these can be used for self-decoration.’
      • ‘An optometrist who has been in the profession for almost two decades says experience showed that eyes of the weaker sex are tougher than those of the so-called stronger sex.’
      • ‘Divorce devoid of valid reason is an injustice to the weaker sex.’
  • weak in the knees

    • Helpless with emotion.

      • ‘Almost every foodie I have ever met goes weak at the knees at the mere mention of white truffles.’
      • ‘His sun-kissed skin and stubble make the iciest of women weak at the knees.’
      • ‘Of course, I never met the lady in person - an experience that could apparently make strong men go weak at the knees.’
      faint, dizzy, light-headed, giddy, shaky
      weak-kneed, wobbly, quivery, unsteady, groggy, muzzy
      trembly, all of a tremble, all of a quiver, with rubbery legs, woozy
      vertiginous
      View synonyms
    • see knee
      • ‘Why do I go weak at the knees whenever I see a boy play the guitar/sing?’
      • ‘The guy that makes me weak in the knees and gives me goosebumps.’
      • ‘Teenage girls adore him and middle-aged women go weak at the knees when they meet him.’
  • the weak link

    • The point at which a system, sequence, or organization is most vulnerable; the least dependable element or member.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The suspicion that you are the weakest link can add a lot of pressure to a team member.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Davis sees the country as the weakest link in the struggle against organised crime in the region.’
      • ‘Before him goal keeping was usually considered the weakest link in the team.’
      • ‘A facility's electrical system is only as reliable as the weakest link in the system.’
      • ‘The villains are probably the weakest link in the film.’
      • ‘But it may prove to be the most important and yet the weakest link in the coalition against terrorism.’
      • ‘The security of any single organization is only as strong as that of the weakest link in the chain, no matter how large or small.’

Origin

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.

Pronunciation:

weak

/wēk/