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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.
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
  • Overall vulnerability to hurricanes has grown from multiple causes.
  • And the data highlighted some other points of vulnerability.
  • If patients do not adhere perfectly to their drug regimen, the virus rapidly eliminates its vulnerability.
  • It will be a primordial reminder of our time and place, and of our power and vulnerability.
  • We worked with them to help them replicate the vulnerability.
  • The surprising vulnerability of a major airport to such a construction accident raises many questions.
  • It's difficult to show your vulnerability to students, even when the issues are more innocuous.
  • Specialists have been warning for years that this growing dependency is a potential vulnerability.
  • And from vulnerability there has emerged a tough fatalism.
  • If it is the question becomes whether one has a vulnerability by birth or it is acquired.
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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