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[vuhl-ner-uh-buh l] /ˈvʌl nər ə bəl/
capable of or susceptible to being wounded or hurt, as by a weapon:
a vulnerable part of the body.
open to moral attack, criticism, temptation, etc.:
an argument vulnerable to refutation; He is vulnerable to bribery.
(of a place) open to assault; difficult to defend:
a vulnerable bridge.
Bridge. having won one of the games of a rubber.
Origin of vulnerable
1595-1605; < Late Latin vulnerābilis, equivalent to Latin vulnerā(re) to wound + -bilis -ble; see vulnerary
Related forms
vulnerability, vulnerableness, noun
vulnerably, adverb
unvulnerable, adjective
Can be confused
venerable, vulnerable. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for vulnerability
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • In addition to the possibility of being shot at by other aircraft, an important consideration was vulnerability from the ground.

    Aviation in Peace and War Sir Frederick Hugh Sykes
  • This could be harmful by increasing the vulnerability of these areas to Soviet pressure.

    East-West Trade Trends Harold E. Stassen
  • Gliding shadows moving warily, stealing as though searching out its form, and measuring its vulnerability.

    The Triumph of John Kars Ridgwell Cullum
  • The vulnerability of human life on the moon struck Crag forcibly.

    First on the Moon Jeff Sutton
  • (d) The length and vulnerability of possible lines of communication.

    Sound Military Decision U.s. Naval War College
British Dictionary definitions for vulnerability


capable of being physically or emotionally wounded or hurt
open to temptation, persuasion, censure, etc
liable or exposed to disease, disaster, etc
(military) liable or exposed to attack
(bridge) (of a side who have won one game towards rubber) subject to increased bonuses or penalties
Derived Forms
vulnerability, vulnerableness, noun
vulnerably, adverb
Word Origin
C17: from Late Latin vulnerābilis, from Latin vulnerāre to wound, from vulnus a wound
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 vulnerability



c.1600, from Late Latin vulnerabilis "wounding," from Latin vulnerare "to wound," from vulnus (genitive vulneris) "wound," perhaps related to vellere "pluck, to tear."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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vulnerability in Technology
A bug or feature of a system that exposes it to possible attack, a flaw in the system's security.
A common example of a vulnerability due to a bug is buffer overrun, where carefully constructed input can allow an attacker to insert arbitrary code into a running program and have it executed.
The most serious vulnerabilities are those in network software, especially if they exploit traffic that is allowed through the firewall like HTTP, for example exploiting a bug in a web browser.
The Open Source Vulnerability Database lists many vulnerabilities.
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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