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[fee-buh l] /ˈfi bəl/
adjective, feebler, feeblest.
physically weak, as from age or sickness; frail.
weak intellectually or morally:
a feeble mind.
lacking in volume, loudness, brightness, distinctness, etc.:
a feeble voice; feeble light.
lacking in force, strength, or effectiveness:
feeble resistance; feeble arguments.
Origin of feeble
1125-75; Middle English feble < Old French, variant of fleible (by dissimilation) < Latin flēbilis lamentable, equivalent to flē(re) to weep + -bilis -ble
Related forms
feebleness, noun
feeblish, adjective
feebly, adverb
nonfeeble, adjective
nonfeebleness, noun
nonfeebly, adverb
unfeeble, adjective
unfeebleness, noun
unfeebly, adverb
1. See weak. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for feeble
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • André, the youngest of the brothers of Vassili, a man of feeble character, now alone remained of the royal princes at court.

    The Empire of Russia John S. C. Abbott
  • It is but a feeble destiny that is wrecked by passion, when it should be ennobled.

    Malbone Thomas Wentworth Higginson
  • His grandmother, knowing that she was too aged and feeble to take care of him, gave him to the Home.

  • He called again, and this time thought he heard a feeble response.

    Weighed and Wanting George MacDonald
  • As they neared the well they began shouting, and a feeble cry from the depths answered them.

British Dictionary definitions for feeble


lacking in physical or mental strength; frail; weak
inadequate; unconvincing: feeble excuses
easily influenced or indecisive
Derived Forms
feebleness, noun
feebly, adverb
Word Origin
C12: from Old French feble, fleible, from Latin flēbilis to be lamented, from flēre to weep
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for feeble

late 12c., from Old French feble (12c., Modern French faible) "weak, feeble," from Latin flebilis "lamentable," literally "that is to be wept over," from flere "weep, cry, shed tears, lament," from PIE *bhle- "to howl" (cf. bleat). The first -l- was dropped in Old French by dissimilation. The noun meaning "feeble person" is recorded from mid-14c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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