from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Susceptible to physical harm or damage.
  • adjective Susceptible to emotional injury, especially in being easily hurt.
  • adjective Susceptible to attack.
  • adjective Open to censure or criticism; assailable.
  • adjective Games In a position to receive greater penalties or bonuses in a hand of bridge. In a rubber, used of the pair of players who score 100 points toward game.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Capable of wounding; dangerous.
  • Capable of being wounded; susceptible of wounds or injuries, literally or figuratively.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Capable of being wounded; susceptible of wounds or external injuries.
  • adjective Liable to injury; subject to be affected injuriously; assailable.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective More or most likely to be exposed to the chance of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.
  • adjective computing More likely to be exposed to malicious programs or viruses.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective capable of being wounded or hurt
  • adjective susceptible to attack
  • adjective susceptible to criticism or persuasion or temptation


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Late Latin vulnerābilis, wounding, from Latin vulnerāre, to wound, from vulnus, vulner-, wound; see welə- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Late Latin vulnerābilis ("injurious, wounding"), from Latin vulnerō ("I wound").


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  • Lyon has been called many things, but never was the word vulnerable put to his name.

    The Lion’s Lady Julie Garwood 1993

  • Lyon has been called many things, but never was the word vulnerable put to his name.

    Castles and The Lion’s Lady Julie Garwood 1993

  • The word vulnerable itself comes from the Latin vulnerare which means 'to wound', and so at the root of vulnerability is my own sense of wounded-ness.

    The Full Feed from Viral Mehta 2011

  • The language is lucid yet gripping and reflects popular human sentiment and passions, †observes D†™ Souza. “The term vulnerable has been specifically and repeatedly coined to reiterate the myriad vulnerabilities faced by the nation from political establishments.

    The Times of India 2010

  • I probably wasn't very clear, but I was using the term vulnerable to describe people who are undergoing therapy (anybody with mental health problems) - not the users of drugs per se.

    Army Rumour Service 2009

  • Protection and care for the vulnerable is at the very roots under civilization, and the attacks on this take many forms.

    The Formal Home 2006

  • Protecting the vulnerable is an essential function of government and affordable compassion is an indelible element of contemporary liberalism.

    The New Face of Government 1995

  • Then someone else said, The word 'vulnerable' has been going around. - Home Page Joe Fiorito 2011

  • Rep. Mark Miloscia, D-Federal Way, introduced a slew of unsuccessful amendments, arguing that the underlying bill doesn't do enough to protect the rights of surrogate mothers and doesn't assign adequate value to the work of what he termed "vulnerable women."

    The Seattle Times 2011

  • The military reverberations of the word "vulnerable"-unguarded, unfortified, defenseless-as well as its more visceral associations-exposed, naked-I felt intensely as I thought about the hard attitude rampant today that everyone is on his or her own, not only poor families struggling to survive (cuts to welfare), but also children (cuts to education) and the elderly (cuts to Medicare and Social Security); and the ruthless attitude equally rampant today that no one owes anybody anything, that any "sacrifice" in the name of the public good, of the world we share together, our commonwealth, is too much to ask of anyone.

    NPR Topics: News 2011


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  • "I was just reading an article in the New York Times by Michael Pollen about food and the fact that our entire agricultural system is built on cheap oil. As a consequence, our agriculture sector actually is contributing more greenhouse gases than our transportation sector. And in the mean time, it's creating monocultures that are vulnerable to national security threats, are now vulnerable to sky-high food prices or crashes in food prices, huge swings in commodity prices, and are partly responsible for the explosion in our healthcare costs because they're contributing to type 2 diabetes, stroke and heart disease, obesity, all the things that are driving our huge explosion in healthcare costs."

    - Barack Obama, The Full Obama Interview,, 23 Oct 2008.

    February 13, 2009

  • This word is vunnerable to loss of its first l, even by the manglemouths who pass for reporters these days.

    April 3, 2012