em·​brit·​tle im-ˈbri-tᵊl How to pronounce embrittle (audio)
embrittled; embrittling im-ˈbri-tᵊl-iŋ How to pronounce embrittle (audio)

transitive verb

: to make brittle

intransitive verb

: to become brittle
embrittlement noun

Examples of embrittle in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Hydrogen embrittles steel, and when under pressure gas pipelines are likely to develop fractures, which could lead to explosive failures. WSJ, 19 Feb. 2023 And hydrogen can embrittle steel pipelines unless that is mitigated by altering operating conditions or incorporating expensive alloys. Michael E. Webber, Scientific American, 15 Mar. 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'embrittle.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1902, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of embrittle was in 1902

Dictionary Entries Near embrittle

Cite this Entry

“Embrittle.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/embrittle. Accessed 24 Sep. 2023.

Last Updated: - Definition revised
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!