the fact or state of not being strong or powerful
1 (no plural) the state of not being strong:
He thought that crying was a sign of weakness.
2 (plural weaknesses) something that is wrong or bad in a person or thing
weak‧ness W3 /ˈwiːknəs, ˈwiːknɪs/ BrE AmE noun
[Word Family: noun: ↑weakling, ↑weakness; verb: ↑weaken; adverb: ↑weakly; adjective: ↑weak]
1. FAULT [countable] a fault in someone’s character or in a system, organization, design etc:
The legislation has a fundamental weakness.
The plan has strengths and weaknesses.
2. LACK OF POWER [uncountable] lack of strength, power, or influence
weakness in the economy
the growing weakness of local government
3. BODY [uncountable] the state of being physically weak:
weakness in the right arm
4. CHARACTER [uncountable] lack of determination shown in someone’s behaviour:
He couldn’t explain his weakness in giving in to her demands.
I dared not cry or show any sign of weakness.
his weakness of character
5. MONEY [uncountable] the condition of not being worth a lot of money
the weakness of the pound against the dollar
6. a weakness for something if you have a weakness for something, you like it very much even though it may not be good for you:
I have a real weakness for fashionable clothes.
■ something wrong
▪ fault a problem in a machine, system, design etc that causes damage or makes it not work properly: The fire was caused by an electrical fault. | a fault in the engine
▪ defect a fault in something such as a product or machine, resulting from the way it was made or designed: Cars are tested for defects before they leave the factory.
▪ weakness a part of a plan, system, or argument that is not as good as the other parts, and makes it likely to fail: What are the strengths and weaknesses of each method?
▪ flaw a fault in a plan, system, argument etc, especially one that makes it useless or not effective: Your argument has a fundamental flaw. | There was one major flaw in his suggestion – we didn’t have enough money.
▪ bug a fault in a computer program: A bug in the system was quickly fixed.
▪ glitch a small fault in the way something works, that can usually be easily corrected: I noticed a small glitch when installing the software.
▪ mistake something that is wrong in someone’s spelling, grammar, calculations etc: The article was full of spelling mistakes.
▪ there’s something wrong with something used when saying that there is a problem in a machine, car etc, but you do not know what it is: There’s something wrong with the computer – it won’t close down.
weak·ness [weakness weaknesses] [ˈwiːknəs] [ˈwiːknəs] noun
1. uncountable lack of strength, power or determination
• The sudden weakness in her legs made her stumble.
• the weakness of the dollar against the pound
• He thought that crying was a sign of weakness.
2. countable a weak point in a system, sb's character, etc
• It's important to know your own strengths and weaknesses.
• Can you spot the weakness in her argument?
3. countable, usually singular ~ (for sth/sb) difficulty in resisting sth/sb that you like very much
• He has a weakness for chocolate.
• He saw compromise as a sign of weakness.
• He worries a lot about his weight, but can't overcome his weakness for fatty foods.
• I have a real weakness for chocolate.
• In a moment of weakness I let him drive my car.
• Make companies aware of potential weaknesses so they know what steps to take.
• Service conditions soon revealed the inherent weaknesses in the vehicle's design.
• She didn't seem to have any obvious weaknesses.
• The appraisal system seeks to assess employees' strengths and weaknesses.
• The criminals exploit apparent weaknesses in the system.
• The greatest weakness of the plan lies in its lack of government support.
• The management had to address specific weaknesses in training.
• The team doesn't have any glaring weaknesses.
• They know their strengths and weaknesses.
• a fatal weakness in his theory
• a position of relative weakness
• business leaders who refuse to admit their weaknesses
• humanity's moral weakness and capacity for evil
• the primary methodological weakness of this study
• the underlying weakness of the coalition's position
• Can you spot the weakness in that argument?
• Certain structural weaknesses have to be overcome before the economy can recover.
• He regarded asking for help as a sign of weakness.
• She admits that her love of luxury is one of her greatest weaknesses.
• The fundamental weakness of the organization is its lack of effective communication.
• There are a number of weaknesses in this approach.
• Try to consider the relative strengths and weaknesses of your work.
• We all have our weaknesses.
• We are all subject to some form of human weakness.
• You need to be aware of your own strengths and weaknesses.
• Young recruits were urged to overcome their own innate weaknesses.
Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary - 4th Edition
weakness / wik.nəs / noun
B2 [ U ] the fact or state of not being strong or powerful:
Any change of policy will be interpreted as a sign of weakness.
B2 [ C ] a particular part or quality of someone or something that is not good or effective:
There are definite weaknesses in their security arrangements.
His main weakness as a manager is his inability to delegate.
The later novels show none of the weaknesses of his earlier work.
C2 a strong liking, usually for something that might have unpleasant or unwanted effects:
My diet would be fine if only I didn't have this weakness for sweet things.
© Cambridge University Press 2013
N-COUNT: usu sing, oft N for n
If you have a weakness for something, you like it very much, although this is perhaps surprising or undesirable.
→ See also weak
Stephen himself had a weakness for cats...
His one weakness, apart from aeroplanes, is ice cream.
weak·ness /ˈwiːknəs/ noun, pl -ness·es
1 [noncount] : the quality or state of being weak
• muscle weakness
• The weakness of her voice surprised me.
• The incident exposed his weakness as a leader.
• Some see compromise as a sign of weakness.
• moral weakness
• the weakness of a radio signal/Internet connection
• the weakness of the dollar/economy
• I told them my secret in a moment of weakness.
2 [count] : a quality or feature that prevents someone or something from being effective or useful
• The tutor assessed the student's strengths and weaknesses.
• The basketball team has few weaknesses.
a : something that you like so much that you are often unable to resist it
• Chocolate is my greatest weakness.
b : a strong feeling of desire for something
• He has a weakness for desserts.