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[in-furm] /ɪnˈfɜrm/
feeble or weak in body or health, especially because of age; ailing.
unsteadfast, faltering, or irresolute, as persons or the mind; vacillating:
infirm of purpose.
not firm, solid, or strong:
an infirm support.
unsound or invalid, as an argument or a property title.
verb (used with object)
to invalidate.
Origin of infirm
1325-75; Middle English infirme < Latin infirmus. See in-3, firm1
Related forms
infirmly, adverb
infirmness, noun
1, 3, 4. weak. 2. wavering, indecisive. 3. rickety, tottering, shaky, unsteady.
1, 2, 3. strong. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for infirm
  • The way that humans take care of the sick and infirm within their communities is considered a unique trait.
  • The rest of the elderly infirm had to make their own arrangements.
  • It does not require a general anaesthetic, making it an attractive option for the elderly or infirm.
  • Space was valuable on the wagon train and, if available, for the old and infirm only.
  • In fact, the immune systems of the old and infirm don't respond efficiently to the flu vaccine.
  • infirm buildings collapse each week, sometimes because they cannot withstand the vibrations from nearby construction work.
  • When granny has become so infirm that she can no longer make a cup of tea, she may be nudged into a care home.
  • Four of their highest-ranking leaders await trial but they are old and infirm.
  • Price had grown frail and infirm by that time, which affected his ability to walk, and the committee was often run by a colleague.
  • Think of the mobility enhancements for the infirm and elderly.
British Dictionary definitions for infirm


  1. weak in health or body, esp from old age
  2. (as collective noun; preceded by the): the infirm
lacking moral certainty; indecisive or irresolute
not stable, sound, or secure: an infirm structure, an infirm claim
(law) (of a law, custom, etc) lacking legal force; invalid
Derived Forms
infirmly, adverb
infirmness, noun
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 infirm

late 14c., "weak, unsound" (of things), from Latin infirmus "weak, frail, feeble" (figuratively "superstitious, pusillanimous, inconstant"), from in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + firmus (see firm (adj.)). Of persons, "not strong, unhealthy," first recorded c.1600. As a noun from 1711.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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infirm in Medicine

infirm in·firm (ĭn-fûrm')
Weak in body, especially from old age or disease; feeble.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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