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Feeble vs. Weak: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Updated on November 8, 2023
Feeble implies a lack of strength or effectiveness due to age or illness, while weak refers to a general lack of physical strength or power.

Key Differences

Feeble is typically used to describe an extremely frail state, often associated with old age or illness, suggesting a delicate, very diminished strength. Weak, while similar, is less specific and can refer to a lack of strength in various contexts, not necessarily due to age or sickness.
A feeble attempt is one that fails to achieve due to lack of vigor or force, denoting a higher level of ineffectiveness. A weak attempt might still have some chance of success, but is not as strong or powerful as it could be.
The term feeble often connotes a pitiable or sympathetic weakness, evoking a sense of needed support. Weak does not inherently evoke the same level of sympathy and can be used in a broader range of scenarios, from describing diluted solutions to lackluster performances.
Feeble can also imply a lack of intensity or soundness in non-physical things, such as arguments or sounds. Weak similarly can be applied to non-physical entities but usually indicates a deficiency rather than an extreme lack.
While both feeble and weak indicate a deficiency of strength, feeble often suggests a more severe level of weakness, potentially to the point of needing assistance, whereas weak is more general and less severe.

Comparison Chart


Lacking strength due to specific reasons.
Lacking strength in a general sense.


Often implies sympathy or pity.
Broadly used, less specific.


More common in reference to old age.
Used in a variety of contexts.

Degree of Intensity

Implies a more severe lack of strength.
Indicates a deficiency, not necessarily severe.

Examples of Use

Feeble health, feeble voice.
Weak signal, weak foundation.

Feeble and Weak Definitions


Lacking physical strength, especially as a result of age or illness.
The feeble old man walked slowly with the aid of a cane.


Likely to fail due to poor quality or lack of foundation.
The argument was weak and easily refuted.


Lacking effectiveness or force.
His feeble attempts to open the jar were unsuccessful.


Lacking intensity or brightness.
The weak sunlight of dawn crept into the room.


Morally or intellectually weak.
She made a feeble excuse for her absence.


Susceptible to temptation or persuasion.
He was too weak to resist the offer of a free sample.


Showing a lack of volume or loudness in sound.
Her voice was feeble and could hardly be heard over the din.


Lacking the power to perform physically demanding tasks; lacking physical strength and energy.
After the illness, she felt too weak to go back to work.


Faint or slight; insufficiently forceful.
The feeble light of the candle barely illuminated the room.


Lacking authority or decisiveness.
The leader's weak decisions led to a loss of confidence among his team.


Lacking bodily strength; weak
Too feeble to climb the hill.


Lacking physical strength, energy, or vigor; feeble.


Having little intensity or strength; faint
Feeble light.
A feeble voice.


Likely to fail under pressure, stress, or strain; lacking resistance
A weak link in a chain.


Can feeble and weak be used interchangeably?

They can be in some contexts, but feeble often suggests a greater level of weakness.

Can inanimate objects be described as feeble?

Yes, such as a feeble light or sound, meaning faint or weak.

What is a synonym for weak?

Infirm, fragile, or frail can be synonyms for weak.

Does feeble always relate to the elderly?

It's commonly associated with old age but can also describe any extreme physical weakness.

Can weak refer to character?

Yes, it can describe a person with lack of resolve or strength of character.

Is feebleness the same as weakness?

Feebleness is a form of weakness but often implies a more severe condition.

Is weakness a medical condition?

It can be a symptom of various conditions but is not a specific medical diagnosis.

Is a feeble argument necessarily a bad one?

Not necessarily bad, but it lacks convincing power or soundness.

Can businesses be described as feeble?

Yes, if they are failing or not performing well.

Can someone be mentally feeble?

Yes, it can refer to intellectual weakness or diminished mental capacity.

Can weak be a positive description?

Rarely, as it generally suggests a lack of strength or quality.

Can weak be used to describe flavors?

Yes, such as a weak tea, meaning not strong or concentrated.

How can feeble be used to describe sound?

It can refer to a sound that is very soft and not easily heard.

Can weak be used in a technical context?

Yes, such as a weak electrical signal or a weak structure.

What is the opposite of feeble?

Robust, strong, or vigorous.

Can feeble be used in a metaphorical sense?

Yes, such as a feeble attempt at humor.

Can one recover from being feeble?

Depending on the cause, recovery may be possible with proper care or treatment.

What does it mean when a person is described as weak-willed?

It means they easily give in to others or temptations.

Is weakness always negative?

In most contexts, yes, since it implies a lack of necessary strength.

What does it mean to feel weak in the knees?

It's an expression meaning to feel nervous or scared.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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