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Weakness refers to a lack in force or ability; the opposite of strength.


  • Mutability of temper and inconsistency with ourselves is the greatest weakness of human nature.
    • Joseph Addison, The Spectator (1711–1714), No. 162 (5 September 1711).
  • Amiable weakness.
    • Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones (1749), Book X, Chapter VIII. Sheridan—School for Scandal, Act V, scene 1.
  • The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.
    • Mohandas Gandhi, in "Interview to the Press" in Karachi about the execution of Bhagat Singh (23 March 1931), published in Young India (2 April 1931).
  • And the weak soul, within itself unbless'd,
    Leans for all pleasure on another's breast.
  • If there are sound reasons or bases for the points you demand, then there is no need for violence. On the other hand, when there is no sound reason that concessions should be made to you but mainly your own desire, then reason cannot work and you have to rely on force. Thus using force is not a sign of strength but rather a sign of weakness.
  • If weakness may excuse,
    What murderer, what traitor, parricide,
    Incestuous, sacrilegious, but may plead it?
    All wickedness is weakness; that plea, therefore,
    With God or man will gain thee no remission.
  • Are you or aren't you convinced that weakness is a man's condition? How can you raise yourself if you haven't fallen first?
  • Heaven forming each on other to depend,
    A master, or a servant, or a friend,
    Bids each on other for assistance call,
    Till one man's weakness grows the strength of all.
  • Fine by defect, and delicately weak.
  • La faiblesse est le seul défaut que l'on ne saurait corriger.
  • Although men are accused of not knowing their own weakness, yet perhaps as few know their own strength. It is in men as in soils, where sometimes there is a vein of gold, which the owner knows not of.
    • Jonathan Swift,Thoughts on Various Subjects from Miscellanies (1711-1726)
  • Omnis enim ex infirmitate feritas est.
    • All savageness is a sign of weakness.
      • De Vita Beata (On the Happy Life): cap. 3, line 4
    • Alternate translation: All cruelty springs from weakness. (translator unknown)
      • Seneca the Younger, As quoted in Caxtoniana: A Series of Essays on Life, Literature, and Manners (1864), Harper & brothers, Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton, p. 174 (in the essay The Sympathetic Temperment).

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations[edit]

Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 863-64.
  • The cord breaketh at last by the weakest pull.
  • But the concessions of the weak are the concessions of fear.
  • Amiable weakness of human nature.
    • Edward Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Chapter XIV.
  • Das sterbliche Geschlecht ist viel zu schwach
    In ungewohnter Höhe nicht zu schwindeln.
    • The mortal race is far too weak not to grow dizzy on unwonted heights.
    • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Iphigenia auf Tauris, I, 3, 98.
  • On affaiblit toujours tout ce qu'on exagère.
  • Soft-heartedness, in times like these,
    Shows sof'ness in the upper story!
  • Even the weakest is thrust to the wall.
    • In Scogin's Tests (1540). "The weakest goeth to the wall." Title of a play printed 1600, and 1618. "The weakest goes to the wall." Tuvill, Essays Morall (1609).
  • Weakness to be wroth with weakness! woman's pleasure, woman's pain—
    Nature made them blinder motions bounded in a shallower brain.

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