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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 feebleness
Historical Examples
  • It was the last phase, the feebleness, the wanness, the inertia!

    The Blind Spot Austin Hall
  • To her frenzy had now succeeded a sickness and feebleness like unto death.

    White Lies Charles Reade
  • He had no hope of being believed; moreover, the grim eye of Hawes rested on him, and no feebleness in it.

  • After observing the feebleness of his position, I made up my mind that I had won the victory.

    Seek and Find Oliver Optic
  • Iron and adamant are not stronger than these arguments; nor can any one attempt an answer without exposing his feebleness.

  • I might, in my feebleness, be compelled to let it go, and then—.

    The Hunters' Feast Mayne Reid
  • Every accusation except that of dulness or feebleness has been brought against Mr. Busoni, and with justice.

    Musical Criticisms Arthur Johnstone
  • You accuse him in your own little mind of feebleness, and so forth.

    The Hill Horace Annesley Vachell
  • The hmatemesis continued for some days, and then feebleness and emaciation set in, death occurring in three months.

    Memoranda on Poisons Thomas Hawkes Tanner
  • feebleness and failure in prayer is a sign of feebleness in the spiritual life.

British Dictionary definitions for feebleness


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 feebleness

c.1300, from feeble + -ness.



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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