brittle

adjective
brit·​tle | \ ˈbri-tᵊl How to pronounce brittle (audio) \
brittler\ ˈbrit-​lər How to pronounce brittler (audio) , ˈbri-​tᵊl-​ər \; brittlest\ ˈbrit-​ləst How to pronounce brittlest (audio) , ˈbri-​tᵊl-​əst \

Definition of brittle

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : 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

brittle

noun

Definition of brittle (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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Other Words from brittle

Adjective

brittlely \ ˈbri-​tᵊl-​(l)ē How to pronounce brittlely (audio) \ adverb
brittleness \ ˈbri-​tᵊl-​nəs How to pronounce brittleness (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for brittle

Synonyms: Adjective

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Choose the Right Synonym for brittle

Adjective

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

Examples of brittle in a Sentence

Adjective a brittle cracker that turned into crumbs in my pocket a brittle apology that was anything but heartfelt
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The monolith of the North Korean state manifests in Kim’s person; his health is undeniably brittle, and so, too, is his regime. Ankit Panda, The New Republic, "What Happens If Kim Jong Un Dies?," 23 Apr. 2020 Until recently, jackets made with other coatings were stiff, brittle, and not waterproof. Andy Cochrane, Wired, "The Race to Design a Rain Jacket That Won't Kill the Planet," 22 Apr. 2020 But in many areas of the reef, for miles and miles, corals that were once colorful are now white, brittle and broken, or gray and covered with unsightly bacteria. Damien Cave, New York Times, "Great Barrier Reef Is Bleaching Again. It’s Getting More Widespread.," 6 Apr. 2020 And the brittle and demanding poetry of his films testifies to the very real, often unfathomably difficult histories of the people onscreen. Will Noah, The New York Review of Books, "Pedro Costa, Filming the Saga of Lisbon’s Cabo Verdeans," 3 Mar. 2020 Transforming any noodle from brittle and starchy to chewy and slippery requires two steps: water and heat. Ali Bouzari, SFChronicle.com, "Housemade: How Chinese restaurants channel wok hei," 22 Jan. 2020 Most of the semiconductor materials that make computing possible are brittle and often crystalline, like diamonds or crystal silicon. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "Stretchy, Degradable Semiconductors Are the Future of Everything," 14 Nov. 2019 The fungus causes the hair to become brittle and break off at the skin. Joan Morris, The Mercury News, "Do Bay Area squirrels with mange need help?," 18 Sep. 2019 The hyoid bone becomes more brittle and is easier to break as people age. al, "Some Jeffrey Epstein prison camera footage is unusable," 27 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Fan favorites The most addictive is the brittles, the cashew and peanut. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Waterford woman channels her children's creativity into Three Lil’ Bakesters, a growing sweets business," 30 Jan. 2020 Dessert is perfectly pleasant: lemon poppy-seed cake with rhubarb and whipped crème fraîche, dark chocolate cake with peanut brittle and Toscanini’s excellent B3 ice cream (the star of the dish). Devra First, BostonGlobe.com, "Why is one of Boston’s best new restaurants in Newton?," 30 Apr. 2018 Monica's Confection Connection will be at all three markets this week with a large selection of sweet treats including brittles, caramels, salted caramels, gummies and fudge. Steve Edwards, Anchorage Daily News, "Feed your Super Bowl party guests right with seafood from local markets," 31 Jan. 2018 Chipping your tooth on peanut brittle, getting a hitch in your get-a-long, or having your mother-in-law visit for the third time in one month are all legitimate reasons to have your heart sincerely blessed. Leslie Anne Tarabella, AL.com, "'Bless your heart' is a good thing," 10 Apr. 2018 The basket-fillers include ½-pound chocolate fudge Easter bunnies, gummies, caramels, salted caramels and a wide selection of brittles. Steve Edwards, Anchorage Daily News, "Easter treats are hopping to a farmers market near you," 21 Mar. 2018 The Triple Play Blizzard mixes soft-serve ice cream with caramel-coated peanuts, caramel popcorn brittle and chocolate chunks. Jennifer Mcclellan, azcentral, "Dairy Queen to sell baseball Blizzards on Opening Day in 15 lucky cities, and Phoenix is one of them," 28 Mar. 2018 Vietnamese caramel and pine nut brittle joined a succulent chunk of seabass in the fifth course. Domenica Bongiovanni, Indianapolis Star, "A new dinner with Indy's best chefs is selling out at $150 a plate. Here's why.," 19 Mar. 2018 Smitten Kitchen Everyday, by the award-winning blogger Deb Perelman, spans such clever, crowd-pleasing recipes as two-ingredient oat brittle, leek-and-feta savory pie, and pretzel linzer cookies. Emily Saladino, USA TODAY, "2017's best food and beverage books," 21 Dec. 2017

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.

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First Known Use of brittle

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

1892, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for brittle

Adjective and Noun

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

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Time Traveler for brittle

Time Traveler

The first known use of brittle was in the 14th century

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Statistics for brittle

Last Updated

28 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Brittle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/brittle. Accessed 31 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for brittle

brittle

adjective
How to pronounce brittle (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of brittle

: easily broken or cracked
: not strong : easily damaged
: sharp in sound

brittle

adjective
brit·​tle | \ ˈbri-tᵊl How to pronounce brittle (audio) \
brittler; brittlest

Kids Definition of brittle

: hard but easily broken brittle glass

Other Words from brittle

brittleness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for 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.

brittle

adjective
brit·​tle | \ ˈbrit-ᵊl How to pronounce brittle (audio) \

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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More from Merriam-Webster on brittle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for brittle

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with brittle

Spanish Central: Translation of brittle

Nglish: Translation of brittle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of brittle for Arabic Speakers

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