Meaning of “weakness” in the English Dictionary

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"weakness" in British English

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weaknessnoun

uk /ˈwiːk.nəs/ us /ˈwiːk.nəs/

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.
weakness for

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 a weakness for cookies.

More examples

  • Any hesitation on the part of the government will be seen as weakness.
  • This latest conflict further illustrates the weakness of the UN.
  • His inability to handle the situation is a sure sign of weakness.
  • Admitting you've made a mistake is a sign of strength, not weakness.
  • In a position of authority, a weakness for the opposite sex leaves you open to blackmail.

(Definition of “weakness” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"weakness" in American English

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weaknessnoun [ C/U ]

us /ˈwik·nəs/

lack of strength or energy:

[ U ] The building’s collapse was caused by weakness in several beams.

Weakness is also a fault in someone’s character:

[ U ] Is crying always a sign of weakness?

A weakness is also a strong liking for something:

[ C ] She admitted to a weakness for desserts.

(Definition of “weakness” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"weakness" in Business English

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weaknessnoun

uk /ˈwiːknəs/ us

[ U ] a situation in which someone or something is at a low level or is not strong or successful:

weakness against sth The dollar's weakness against the Euro has made European goods more expensive here.
weakness in sth Weakness in the economy is accelerating.
She is concerned by the weakness of Europe's single currency.

[ C ] a particular part or quality of someone or something that is not good or effective:

A smart management team knows its company's strengths and weaknesses.
There are definite weaknesses in their security arrangements.
His main weakness is his inability to delegate.

(Definition of “weakness” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)