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

brickle [dialect], crisp, crispy, crumbly, embrittled, flaky (also flakey), friable, short

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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

Adjective

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.

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 zircon carbide ends up providing the material with a stiffness even at high temperatures, while the tungsten is flexible enough to keep the whole thing from being brittle. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "New material could up efficiency of concentrated solar power," 19 Oct. 2018 From the dry, freezing air on the streets to the central heat indoors, winter is virtually designed to suck the moisture out of your complexion, leaving it brittle, easily irritated, and devastatingly dull. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "12 Face and Body Moisturizers That Will Transform Dry Winter Skin Overnight," 31 Jan. 2019 Eyes Old paint is brittle, and chips can fly off a scraper, so wear safety glasses. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "How to Safely Remove Paint," 25 Jan. 2019 With a plastic spatula or credit card, gently scrape up the brittle wax. Carolyn Forte, Good Housekeeping, "The Best Way to Remove Candle Wax from Clothes, Carpet, and More," 24 Dec. 2018 This will make the wax bits brittle and easy to nudge off with a dull knife or even just your fingernail. Carolyn Forte, Good Housekeeping, "The Best Way to Remove Candle Wax from Clothes, Carpet, and More," 24 Dec. 2018 That additional acidity can leach calcium from the corals, making them brittle and unable to grow. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "How Things Got So Bad for the Great Barrier Reef," 25 Oct. 2018 This is partly because hotter temperatures at greater depths make the rock less brittle and partly because the inside of the bend in the plate should be feeling squeezing rather than stretching. Scott K. Johnson, Ars Technica, "2017 earthquake off Mexico broke through an entire tectonic plate," 4 Oct. 2018 Trump’s tariffs reflect how the US used to advance its case for trade before the World Trade Organization ushered in a more brittle regime which worked for nearly 25 years. Emily Stewart, Vox, "Can the US-China trade war be stopped? 11 experts weigh in.," 8 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 The recipe for candied almonds makes more than enough for the salad, and can also double as almond brittle, a handmade gift in itself. Birmingham Magazine, AL.com, "Enjoy Christmas citrus with these tasty recipes," 13 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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Statistics for brittle

Last Updated

20 Mar 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for brittle

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

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More Definitions for brittle

brittle

adjective

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

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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with brittle

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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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