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 The business case for single-screen urban theaters is fragile, and most have some kind of nonprofit support. al, "Mobile’s Crescent Theater is open, but needs help to stay that way," 11 Sep. 2020 The case for pro-worker conservatism, then, is fragile at best. J.c. Pan, The New Republic, "There Is No Such Thing as a Conservative Workers’ Movement," 11 Sep. 2020 Raphael’s early figures seem fragile, with not much anatomy evident. Brian T. Allen, National Review, "Random Thoughts on Raphael," 5 Sep. 2020 If goodness is fragile, then so too is success and failure, in life, and in sports. Andy Larsen, The Salt Lake Tribune, "The Triple Team: A 7-game series comes down to one play. After the loss, where do the Jazz go from here?," 2 Sep. 2020 Because this unwritten underpinning of democratic government is proving increasingly fragile. Ned Temko, The Christian Science Monitor, "Democracy is under fire, but also underrated," 29 July 2020 And experts wonder if the return of sports could burden an increasingly-fragile testing infrastructure. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, "As sports return, experts fear leagues will use up scarce COVID-19 testing resources," 13 July 2020 Elisabeth Moss plays Jackson, with Michael Stuhlbarg as Stanley Hyman, Logan Lerman as Fred Nemser, and Odessa Young as the increasingly fragile Rose Nemser. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Review: Elisabeth Moss gives a brilliantly subversive performance in Shirley," 7 June 2020 But if the lifelines thrown to them are too few and too thin, that hope may prove fragile. Mark Obbie, Longreads, "“We Are Not Lost Causes”," 10 Mar. 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

16 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Fragile.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Sep. 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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