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

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Other Words from fragile

fragility \ frə-​ˈji-​lə-​tē \ 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

This kind of trauma does terrible damage to already fragile children. Pat Lenhoff,, "Column: With children behind fences, it's time for some national soul-searching," 21 June 2018 The canals expanded the already fragile waterways and allowed salt water to flow inland here at a much stronger and faster rate. Gena Somra, CNN, "Louisiana's shrinking marshes signal the loss of a way of life," 6 June 2018 The district also identified medically fragile students in all grades and handed out 700 bottles of water to them. Molly Harbarger,, "Salem water advisory causes questions, we answer them: 13 things to know," 1 June 2018 Efforts to provide training opportunities, international collaborations with mummy experts, and improved infrastructure and facilities are underway, but these collections are so fragile there is little time to spare. Julia Kate Clark, Smithsonian, "As Mongolia Melts, Looters Close In On Priceless Artifacts," 11 Apr. 2018 This fragile system allows an untimely death or an early retirement to drastically change the direction of American jurisprudence for decades. Alvin Chang, Vox, "The volatility of the Supreme Court, explained in a cartoon," 2 July 2018 The flare-up is also an uncomfortable reminder for mainstream parties of how fragile the political situation remains, even as the actual flow of migrants has ebbed. Sara Miller Llana, The Christian Science Monitor, "In Merkel's moment of crisis, a chance to seize middle ground on migration?," 27 June 2018 The coalition air campaign and Houthi bombardment have left more than 10,000 people dead and 2 million displaced, and devastated the country's already fragile infrastructure, including the health sector, which has helped spawn a cholera epidemic. Ahmed Al-haj,, "Fighting intensifies outside Yemen's Hodeida airport as death toll reaches 280," 15 June 2018 The fragile system of levees and berms that helps channel water through the area to cities and farms across the state is already bearing the brunt of rising sea levels and worsening flooding, due to global warming. Kurtis Alexander, San Francisco Chronicle, "Eradication of invasive rodent off to a slow start in California," 12 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.

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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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Statistics for fragile

Last Updated

6 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for fragile

The first known use of fragile was in 1521

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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

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Comments on fragile

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