frag·ile | \ ˈfra-jəl , -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

Keep scrolling for more

Other words from fragile

fragility \frə-ˈji-lə-tē \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for fragile


breakable, delicate, frail, frangible


nonbreakable, strong, sturdy, tough, unbreakable

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Due to the fragile nature of the artworks, pets are not permitted on the I-Park grounds. Courant Community, "Community News For The Colchester Edition," 29 May 2018 The shelf life is also limited because of their fragile nature, so plan to eat them within a few days. Gently rinse them in a bowl of cold water and spin dry. Claire Perez,, "What are pea tendrils and how to use them," 20 Apr. 2018 Such is life in Puerto Rico, months after Hurricane Maria swept over the island in September and ravaged its infrastructure, highlighting the fragile nature of the power grid. James Wagner, New York Times, "Power Is Back in Puerto Rico, but the Frustration Remains," 19 Apr. 2018 Their work on the commission, however, pushed members in very different directions and exposed the fragile nature of LBJ’s consensus. Steven M. Gillon, Time, "This Government Report Showed How Racism Was Dividing America 50 Years Ago. Its Prediction Is Haunting," 1 Mar. 2018 Given the relatively short, fragile nature of 5G signals, carriers have to configure networks differently. Margaret Talev,, "FCC Chairman, Wireless Lobby Oppose U.S. Bid to Build a 5G Network," 29 Jan. 2018 Given the relatively short, fragile nature of 5G signals, carriers have to configure networks differently. Margaret Talev And Jennifer Epstein,, "U.S. is said to consider building 5G network amid China concerns," 29 Jan. 2018 Lizard fossils are hard to come by, considering the fragile nature of their skeletons. Ashley May, USA TODAY, "World's oldest lizard fossil reveals new evolutionary clues about reptiles, scientists say," 31 May 2018 Vanderbilt hurt his foot in September and his ankle in February, a lesson in the fragile nature of the bid to earn a paycheck as a pro ballplayer. Fletcher Page, The Courier-Journal, "Get ready, amateur alphas: Kentucky basketball isn't for everyone," 31 May 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about fragile

Statistics for fragile

Last Updated

11 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for fragile

The first known use of fragile was in 1521

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for fragile



English Language Learners Definition of fragile

: easily broken or damaged : very delicate : not strong


frag·ile | \ ˈfra-jəl \

Kids Definition of fragile

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on fragile

What made you want to look up fragile? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to make amends

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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