From Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search



Etymology 1[edit]

From weak +‎ -ly; compare Old English wāclīċ (weak; ignoble; mean), and Old Norse veikligr (weakly; sick); both ultimately from Proto-Germanic *waikalīkaz (weakly; weak).


weakly (comparative weaklier, superlative weakliest)

  1. Frail, sickly or of a delicate constitution; weak.
    • 1885, Sir Richard Burton, The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night, Night 18:
      I lay in weakly case and confined to my bed for four months before I was able to rise and health returned to me.
    • 1889, WB Yeats, The Ballad of Moll Magee:
      I'd always been but weakly, / And my baby was just born; / A neighbour minded her by day, / I minded her till morn.
    • 1922, Virginia Woolf, chapter 1, in Jacob's Room:
      "Oh, a huge crab," Jacob murmured—and begins his journey on weakly legs on the sandy bottom.
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English weykly, equivalent to weak +‎ -ly. Compare Old High German weihlīcho (weakly), Middle English wocliche, wokli, wacliche (both from Proto-Germanic *waikalīkō).


weakly (comparative more weakly, superlative most weakly)

  1. With little strength or force.
Derived terms[edit]