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feeble

[fee-buh l] /ˈfi bəl/
adjective, feebler, feeblest.
1.
physically weak, as from age or sickness; frail.
2.
weak intellectually or morally:
a feeble mind.
3.
lacking in volume, loudness, brightness, distinctness, etc.:
a feeble voice; feeble light.
4.
lacking in force, strength, or effectiveness:
feeble resistance; feeble arguments.
Origin
1125-1175
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
Synonyms
1. See weak.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for feebly
  • Ravens flew in, sat on his wounded hip, and tore pieces of his flesh while he feebly tried to repel them.
  • The still feebly flickering ashes in the grate, and the row of prim ornaments on the mantelpiece, were surely harmless enough.
  • The non-articular portion of the tubercle is occasionally only feebly marked.
  • The secret of education still hid itself somewhere behind ignorance, and one fumbled over it as feebly as ever.
  • As yet, it must be owned, this daring expectation is but feebly reflected in our books.
  • All at once laughter broke into a roar and covered everything: the mare, roused by the shower of blows, began feebly kicking.
  • He could no longer walk, but could sit erect and totter feebly for a few feet.
  • Compared with mesons, a muon interacts with nuclei incredibly feebly.
  • These were feebly yellow in the impure melancholy winter effluence.
  • The economy has been growing, however feebly, for five straight quarters.
British Dictionary definitions for feebly

feeble

/ˈfiːbəl/
adjective
1.
lacking in physical or mental strength; frail; weak
2.
inadequate; unconvincing: feeble excuses
3.
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 feebly
adv.

late 13c., from feeble + -ly (2).

feeble

adj.

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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