fragile

adjective
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

Point: This is the knife at its most fragile, used for nonimpact jobs like piercing, such as cutting slits in a roast to insert garlic cloves. Francine Maroukian, Popular Mechanics, "The Right Way to Use a Chef's Knife," 7 Nov. 2018 That means whatever stability the CDU has sought by effectively keeping her in place could still be fragile. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "The Merkel Extension," 7 Dec. 2018 The island vanished seemingly overnight, imperiling the already fragile monk seal population of 1,400 worldwide, many of which proliferate in the region. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "A Remote Hawaiian Island Disappeared Completely Following a Hurricane," 24 Oct. 2018 Still, the relationship between her and her parents had long been fragile. Shari Rudavsky, Indianapolis Star, "'Bodies can't take it': Fentanyl involved in nearly half of drug overdose deaths," 2 July 2018 Still standing after decades of Himalayan earthquakes, this important piece of history is as fragile as the shifting Caravaggio light. Sophy Roberts, Condé Nast Traveler, "On Your Next Trip to Nepal, Rent the House Sir Edmund Hillary Loved," 20 Dec. 2018 Ralphie's house—the same one the family stands in front of to admire the infamous and ultimately fragile leg lamp—is located in Cleveland, where the A Christmas Story was filmed (though the story takes place in Indiana). Brittney Morgan, House Beautiful, "Spend A Night At The 'Christmas Story' House To Get Into The Holiday Spirit," 14 Dec. 2018 Western forces are helping to hold a fragile region together. The Economist, "Jihadists are trying to take over the Sahel," 12 July 2018 All of these characters, the women, the publishers, the hangers-on, the simply interesting, provide the clamor that seems to sustain Hemingway, fonts of affirmation on demand available for his fragile writer’s ego. Dana Snitzky, Longreads, "Hemingway’s Last Girl," 12 July 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

16 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for fragile

The first known use of fragile was in 1521

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More Definitions for fragile

fragile

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of fragile

: easily broken or damaged : very delicate : not strong

fragile

adjective
frag·​ile | \ ˈfra-jəl \

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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with fragile

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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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