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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).
  • ONCE upon a time, Aristotle taught Alexander that he should restrain himself from frequently approaching his wife, who was very beautiful, lest he should impede his spirit from seeking the general good. Alexander acquiesed to him. The queen, when she perceived this and was upset, began to draw Aristotle to love her. Many times she crossed paths with him alone, with bare feet and disheveled hair, so that she might entice him.
    At last, being enticed, he began to solicit her carnally. She says,
    "This I will certainly not do, unless I see a sign of love, lest you be testing me. Therefore, come to my chamber crawling on hand and foot, in order to carry me like a horse. Then I'll know that you aren't deluding me."
    When he had consented to that condition, she secretly told the matter to Alexander, who lying in wait apprehended him carrying the queen. When Alexander wished to kill Aristotle, in order to excuse himself, Aristotle says,
    If thus it happened to me, an old man most wise, that I was deceived by a woman, you can see that I taught you well, that it could happen to you, a young man."
    Hearing that, the king spared him, and made progress in Aristotle's teachings.
  • WEAKNESSES, n.pl. Certain primal powers of Tyrant Woman wherewith she holds dominion over the male of her species, binding him to the service of her will and paralyzing his rebellious energies.
  • What would it mean for a woman to be a warrior today? How could modern women control the means of production and reproduction? Miracles of consciousness aside, I see no way for women to defeat or transfer patriarchy without achieving power. Unlike male groups, women have little power with which to either avoid or commit violence. Women traditionally are physically weak and politically powerless in a culture that values physical strength and its extended representation in the form of weaponry and money. Women, like men, must be capable of violence or self-defense before their refusal to use violence constitutes a free and moral choice, rather than 'making the best of a bad bargain.
  • History does not long entrust the care of freedom to the weak or the timid. We must acquire proficiency in defense and display stamina in purpose. We must be willing, individually and as a Nation, to accept whatever sacrifices may be required of us. A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.
  • 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).
  • Tender inner weaknesses, revolting at mild touches of censure, are like diseased parts of the body, recoiling before even delicate handling.
  • And the weak soul, within itself unbless'd,
    Leans for all pleasure on another's breast.
  • All members of the world community should resolutely discard old stereotypes and motivations nurtured by the Cold War, and give up the habit of seeking each other's weak spots and exploiting them in their own interests.
  • 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 someone tells you you are too weak to live with freedom, they have turned you into a child.
  • Even Achilles was only as strong as his heel.
    • Frank Underwood House of Cards season 2 episode 11, written by John Mankiewicz & Beau Willimon.
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • 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).
  • Just as dyed hair makes older men less attractive, it is what you do to hide your weaknesses that makes them repugnant.
    • Nassim Nicholas Taleb, The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms (2010) Ethics, p. 68.
  • The weak shows his strength and hides his weaknesses; the magnificent exhibits his weaknesses like ornaments.
    • Nassim Nicholas Taleb, The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms (2010) The Sage, the Weak, and the Magnificent, p. 94.
  • Instead, Donald withdraws to his comfort zones- Twitter, Fox News- casting blame from afar, protected by a figurative or literal bunker. He rants about the weakness of others even as he demonstrates his own. But he can never escape the fact that he is and always will be a terrified little boy. Donald's monstrosity is the manifestation of the very weakness within him that he's been running from his entire life. For him, there has never been any option but to be positive, to project strength, no matter how illusory, because doing anything else carries a death sentence; my father's short life is evidence of that. The country is now suffering from the same toxic positivity that my grandfather deployed specifically to drown out his ailing wife, torment his dying son, and damage past healing the psyche of his favorite child, Donald J. Trump.
    • Mary L. Trump, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man (2020), p. 210-211
  • Remember, I have not appointed you as commanders and tyrants over the people. I have sent you as leaders instead, so that the people may follow your example. Give the Muslims their rights and do not beat them lest they become abused. Do not praise them unduly, lest they fall into the error of conceit. Do not keep your doors shut in their faces, lest the more powerful of them eat up the weaker ones. And do not behave as if you were superior to them, for that is tyranny over them.
    • Umar as quoted in Omar the Great : The Second Caliph Of Islam (1962) by Muhammad Shibli Numani, Vol. 2, p. 33.
  • Pain is weakness leaving the body.
    • U.S. Marine Corps slogan.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations

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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