frag·​ile | \ ˈfra-jəl How to pronounce fragile (audio) , -ˌjī(-ə)l \

Definition of fragile

1a : easily broken or destroyed a fragile vase fragile bones
b : constitutionally (see constitutionally sense 1a) delicate : lacking in vigor a fragile child
2 : tenuous, slight fragile hope a fragile coalition

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Other Words from fragile

fragility \ frə-​ˈji-​lə-​tē How to pronounce fragility (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of fragile in a Sentence

Her health has always been very fragile. an artist with a fragile ego He is in an emotionally fragile state. The two countries have formed a fragile coalition.
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Recent Examples on the Web Social distancing is especially critical to the citizens at Brookwood because most are medically fragile. Claire Goodman, Houston Chronicle, "Car parade unites isolated Brookwood citizens," 9 July 2020 But pandemic uncertainties are lingering, and the situation is fragile. Jessica Menton, USA TODAY, "Stocks fall as virus outbreaks dim hopes for rebound," 7 July 2020 But pandemic uncertainties are looming, and the situation is fragile. Washington Post, "Asia markets slip as virus outbreaks mute hopes for rebound," 7 July 2020 After the additional arrests were announced, the nationwide protests calling for action in the wake of Floyd's death in police custody took on a calmer tone Wednesday night — a fragile peace that officials hoped would hold. NBC News, "More police officers charged, Mattis slams Trump and antimalarial fails to prevent virus," 4 June 2020 Early descriptions of the dinosaur depicted it as having a fragile crest, weak jaws and spitting venom to paralyze its prey, which was seen in the movie. Fox News, "'Jurassic Park' got nearly everything wrong about Dilophosaurus, new study says," 9 July 2020 This second Zoom play — and sixth in the Apple Family series by its author-director — finds the Apples in early July 2020, in fragile states. Peter Marks, Washington Post, "These works by Richard Nelson and Lorraine Hansberry are some of the best plays online now," 8 July 2020 Some economists say lawmakers are risking further damage to an already fragile recovery by not moving more quickly. Emily Cochrane,, "Congress eyes more spending as economy continues to struggle," 2 July 2020 Californians, Floridians and Texans are back in hiding, and the recovery in driving that had restored highway travel nationwide back to 85% of last year's levels is looking more fragile than ever. Anchorage Daily News, "A second virus wave again threatens U.S. oil demand," 29 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fragile.' 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 fragile

1521, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for fragile

borrowed from Middle French & Latin; Middle French fragile, borrowed from Latin fragilis, from frag-, variant stem of frangere "to break, shatter" + -ilis "subject to, susceptible to (the action of the verb)" (alteration of -ibilis -ible, originally by haplology after verb stems ending in a labial consonant) — more at break entry 1

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Time Traveler for fragile

Time Traveler

The first known use of fragile was in 1521

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Statistics for fragile

Last Updated

30 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Fragile.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for fragile


How to pronounce fragile (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of fragile

: easily broken or damaged : very delicate : not strong


frag·​ile | \ ˈfra-jəl How to pronounce fragile (audio) \

Kids Definition of fragile

: easily broken or hurt : delicate a fragile dish a fragile child

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More from Merriam-Webster on fragile

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for fragile

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with fragile

Spanish Central: Translation of fragile

Nglish: Translation of fragile for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of fragile for Arabic Speakers

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