The point where something fails to work properly or to hold up is its weakness. If a building crumbles in a storm, it's probably because of a weakness — a flaw or defect — in its structure.

Weakness can indicate a physical weakness, like a chair with one wobbly leg, or flaw in an idea, like a plan for a lemonade stand that doesn't include any cups for serving the lemonade. People can show weakness too, when they are helpless to take action. The origin of weakness can be traced all the way back to its Proto-Indo-European root of weik, "to bend."

Definitions of weakness

n a flaw or weak point

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inadequacy, insufficiency
a lack of competence
used of materials (especially metals) in a weakened state caused by long stress
defect or weakness in a person's character
hamartia, tragic flaw
the character flaw or error of a tragic hero that leads to his downfall
Type of:
imperfection, imperfectness
the state or an instance of being imperfect

n the property of lacking physical or mental strength; liability to failure under pressure or stress or strain

“his weakness increased as he became older”
“the weakness of the span was overlooked until it collapsed”
the property of being physically or mentally strong
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littleness, smallness
the property of having relatively little strength or vigor
lack of strength or vigor (especially from illness)
feebleness, tenuity
the quality of lacking intensity or substance
the property of being without strength
flimsiness, shoddiness
the property of weakness by virtue of careless construction
delicacy, fragility
lack of physical strength
lack of solid substance and strength
the property of something that has been weakened or reduced in thickness or density
lack of vitality
susceptibility to fatigue; a tendency to get tired or lose strength
inanition, lassitude, lethargy, slackness
weakness characterized by a lack of vitality or energy
soft spot, weak part, weak spot
a place of especial vulnerability
susceptibility to injury or attack
Achilles' heel
a seemingly small but actual mortal weakness
a vital part that is vulnerable to attack
the quality of being weak or unprotected
defencelessness, defenselessness, unprotectedness
the property of being helpless in the face of attack
vulnerability to forceful attack
vulnerability to destruction
breakability, fragility, frangibility, frangibleness
quality of being easily damaged or destroyed
vulnerability to the elements; to the action of heat or cold or wind or rain
Type of:
a basic or essential attribute shared by all members of a class

n powerlessness revealed by an inability to act

“in spite of their weakness the group remains active”
helplessness, impuissance
Type of:
impotence, impotency, powerlessness
the quality of lacking strength or power; being weak and feeble

n a penchant for something even though it might not be good for you

“he has a weakness for chocolate”
Type of:
penchant, predilection, preference, taste
a strong liking

n the condition of being financially weak

“the weakness of the dollar against the yen”
the condition of financial success
Type of:
bad luck, ill luck, misfortune, tough luck
an unfortunate state resulting from unfavorable outcomes

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