From Middle English *weikli, wokli, woclic, waclic, from Old English wāclīċ (“weak; ignoble; mean”), from Proto-Germanic *waikalīkaz (“weakly; weak”), equivalent to weak + -ly. Influenced in form by Old Norse veikligr (“weakly; sick”).
- Frail, sickly or of a delicate constitution; weak.
- 1885, I lay in weakly case and confined to my bed for four months before I was able to rise and health returned to me. — Sir Richard Burton, The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night, Night 18
- 1889, I'd always been but weakly, / And my baby was just born; / A neighbour minded her by day, / I minded her till morn. — WB Yeats, ‘The Ballad of Moll Magee’
- 1922, Virginia Woolf, Jacob's Room Chapter 1
- "Oh, a huge crab," Jacob murmured—and begins his journey on weakly legs on the sandy bottom.
From Middle English weikli, wokli, wocliche, wacliche, from Old English wāclīċe (“weakly; feebly”), from Proto-Germanic *waikalīkō (“weakly”), equivalent to weak + -ly. Cognate with Old High German weihlīcho (“weakly”).