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Etymology 1[edit]

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).


weakly (comparative weaklier, superlative weakliest)

  1. 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.

Etymology 2[edit]

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).


weakly (comparative more weakly, superlative most weakly)

  1. With little strength or force