1

brittle

play
adjective brit·tle \ ˈbri-tᵊl \

Definition of brittle

brittler play \ˈbrit-lər, ˈbri-tᵊl-ər\; brittlest play \-ləst, -tᵊl-əst\
1 a :easily broken, cracked, or snapped
  • brittle clay
  • brittle glass
b :easily disrupted, overthrown, or damaged :frail
  • a brittle friendship
3 :easily hurt or offended :sensitive
  • a brittle personality
4 :sharp
  • the brittle staccato of snare drums
5 :lacking warmth, depth, or generosity of spirit :cold
  • a brittle selfish person
6 medical :affected with or being a form of type 1 diabetes characterized by large and unpredictable fluctuations in blood glucose level

brittlely

play \ˈbri-tᵊl-(l)ē\ adverb

brittleness

play \ˈbri-tᵊl-nəs\ noun

Examples of brittle in a Sentence

  1. a brittle cracker that turned into crumbs in my pocket

  2. a brittle apology that was anything but heartfelt

Recent Examples of brittle from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'brittle.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of brittle

Middle English britil; akin to Old English brēotan to break, Old Norse brjōta

Synonym Discussion of brittle

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

2

brittle

noun

Definition of brittle

:a candy made with caramelized sugar and nuts spread in thin sheets
  • peanut brittle

Recent Examples of brittle from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'brittle.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of brittle


BRITTLE Defined for English Language Learners

brittle

play
adjective

Definition of brittle for English Language Learners

  • : easily broken or cracked

  • : not strong : easily damaged

  • : sharp in sound


BRITTLE Defined for Kids

brittle

play
adjective brit·tle \ ˈbri-tᵊl \

Definition of brittle for Students

brittler; brittlest
:hard but easily broken
  • brittle glass

brittleness

noun

Synonym Discussion of brittle

brittle, crisp, and fragile mean easily broken. brittle is used of something that is hard and dry.
    • Brittle twigs snapped under our feet.
crisp is used of something hard and dry but also fresh.
    • These crackers are no longer crisp.
fragile is used of anything so delicate that it may be broken easily.
    • He held a piece of fragile china.

Medical Dictionary

brittle

play
adjective brit·tle \ ˈbrit-ᵊl \

medical Definition of brittle

:affected with or being a form of type 1 diabetes characterized by large and unpredictable fluctuations in blood glucose level
  • brittle diabetes
  • a brittle diabetic


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