From Middle English weyk, wayk, weik, waik, from Old Norse veikr (“weak”), from Proto-Germanic *waikwaz (“weak, yielded, pliant, bendsome”), from Proto-Indo-European *weyk- (“to bend, wind”). Cognate with Old English wāc (“weak, bendsome”), Saterland Frisian wook (“soft, gentle, tender”), West Frisian weak (“soft”), Dutch week (“soft, weak”), German weich (“weak, soft”), Norwegian veik (“weak”), Swedish vek (“weak, pliant”), Icelandic veikur (“bendsome, weak”). Related to Old English wīcan (“to yield”). Doublet of week and wick. (Can this(+) etymology be sourced?)
This etymology is incomplete. You can help Wiktionary by elaborating on the origins of this term.
- Lacking in force (usually strength) or ability.
- The child was too weak to move the boulder.
- They easily guessed his weak computer password.
- c. 1603–1606, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of King Lear”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act III, scene ii]:
- a poor, infirm, weak, and despised old man
- 1700, [John] Dryden, “Palamon and Arcite: Or, The Knight’s Tale. In Three Books.”, in Fables Ancient and Modern; […], London: Printed for Jacob Tonson, […], OCLC 228732415:
- weak with hunger, mad with love
- Unable to sustain a great weight, pressure, or strain.
- a weak timber; a weak rope
- Unable to withstand temptation, urgency, persuasion, etc.; easily impressed, moved, or overcome; accessible; vulnerable.
- weak resolutions; weak virtue
- 1703, Nicholas Rowe, The Fair Penitent Act I, scene I:
- Guard thy heart / On this weak side, where most our nature fails.
- Dilute, lacking in taste or potency.
- 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 2, in The Mirror and the Lamp:
- That the young Mr. Churchills liked—but they did not like him coming round of an evening and drinking weak whisky-and-water while he held forth on railway debentures and corporation loans. Mr. Barrett, however, by fawning and flattery, seemed to be able to make not only Mrs. Churchill but everyone else do what he desired.
- We were served stale bread and weak tea.
- (grammar) Displaying a particular kind of inflection, including:
- (chemistry) That does not ionize completely into anions and cations in a solution.
- a weak acid; a weak base
- (physics) One of the four fundamental forces associated with nuclear decay.
- (slang) Bad or uncool.
- This place is weak.
- (mathematics, logic) Having a narrow range of logical consequences; narrowly applicable. (Often contrasted with a strong statement which implies it.)
- Resulting from, or indicating, lack of judgment, discernment, or firmness; unwise; hence, foolish.
- 1667, John Milton, “Book 9”, in Paradise Lost. A Poem Written in Ten Books, London: Printed [by Samuel Simmons], and are to be sold by Peter Parker […] [a]nd by Robert Boulter […] [a]nd Matthias Walker, […], OCLC 228722708; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: The Text Exactly Reproduced from the First Edition of 1667: […], London: Basil Montagu Pickering […], 1873, OCLC 230729554:
- If evil thence ensue, / She first his weak indulgence will accuse.
- Not having power to convince; not supported by force of reason or truth; unsustained.
- The prosecution advanced a weak case.
- 1671, John Milton, “Book the Third”, in Paradise Regain’d. A Poem. In IV Books. To which is Added, Samson Agonistes, London: Printed by J. M[acock] for John Starkey […], OCLC 228732398:
- convinced of his weak arguing
- Lacking in vigour or expression.
- a weak sentence; a weak style
- Not prevalent or effective, or not felt to be prevalent; not potent; feeble.
- c. 1595–1596, William Shakespeare, “A Midsommer Nights Dreame”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act III, scene ii]:
- Thy threats have no more strength than her weak prayers.
- (stock exchange) Tending towards lower prices.
- a weak market; wheat is weak at present
- (photography) Lacking contrast.
- a weak negative
- (lacking in force or ability): feeble, frail, powerless, vincible, assailable, vulnerable
- (lacking in taste or potency): dilute, watery
- See also Thesaurus:weak
- (lacking in force or ability): healthy, powerful, robust, strong, invincible
- (lacking in taste or potency): potent, robust, strong
- (chemistry: that does not ionize completely): strong
- bring it weak
- the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak
- weak copyleft
- weak declension
- weak force
- weak in the knees
- weak interaction
- weak nuclear
- weak reference
- weak side
- weak sister
- weak sore
- weak spot
- weak tea
- weak typing
- weak verb
- The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.
|Inflection of weak|
- wêk (Wood)
- “weak (I)”, in Wurdboek fan de Fryske taal (in Dutch), 2011