Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary


adjective frag·ile \ˈfra-jəl, -ˌjī(-ə)l\

Simple Definition of fragile

  • : easily broken or damaged : very delicate : not strong

Full Definition of fragile

  1. 1 a :  easily broken or destroyed <a fragile vase> b :  constitutionally delicate :  lacking in vigor <a fragile child>

  2. 2 :  tenuous, slight <fragile hope>

fra·gil·i·ty play \frə-ˈji-lə-tē\ noun

Examples of fragile

  1. Her health has always been very fragile.

  2. an artist with a fragile ego

  3. He is in an emotionally fragile state.

  4. The two countries have formed a fragile coalition.

Origin of fragile

Middle French, from Latin fragilis — more at frail

First Known Use: 1521

Synonym Discussion of fragile

fragile, frangible, brittle, crisp, friable mean breaking easily. fragile implies extreme delicacy of material or construction and need for careful handling <a fragile antique chair>. frangible implies susceptibility to being broken without implying weakness or delicacy <frangible stone used for paving>. brittle implies hardness together with lack of elasticity or flexibility or toughness <brittle bones>. crisp implies a firmness and brittleness desirable especially in some foods <crisp lettuce>. friable applies to substances that are easily crumbled or pulverized <friable soil>.

synonyms see in addition weak

Rhymes with fragile

FRAGILE Defined for Kids


adjective frag·ile \ˈfra-jəl\

Definition of fragile

  1. :  easily broken or hurt :  delicate <a fragile dish> <a fragile child>

Word Root of fragile

The Latin word frangere, meaning “to break,” and its form fractus give us the roots frag and fract. Words from the Latin frangere have something to do with breaking. Something fragile is easily broken. A fraction is a portion broken off from a whole. To fracture something, such as a bone, is to break it. A fragment is a part that has been broken off from something larger or that is incomplete.

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up fragile? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


February 8, 2016

to clear from accusation or blame

Get Word of the Day daily email!


Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!


Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?

pince-nez spindrift kittly-benders duvet
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.