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 fragile (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 Yet despite the current strength of Mr. Xi and the party, experts point out that performance legitimacy is inherently fragile. Ann Scott Tyson, The Christian Science Monitor, "Vilified abroad, popular at home: China's Communist Party at 100," 18 Feb. 2021 Morris has done a good job in getting things upright, though Atlanta is very fragile in close games. Barry Wilner, ajc, "On Football: NFL coaching carousel about to start spinning," 26 Dec. 2020 This protective ball of fat is very fragile, which is why the vaccines have to be stored at subzero temperatures with dry ice or a special freezer until five days before use. Adrianna Rodriguez, USA TODAY, "'Nothing too surprising there': Pfizer COVID vaccine ingredients are pretty standard, experts say," 13 Dec. 2020 The fat balls are very fragile, which is why the vaccines have to be stored at very cold temperatures. USA Today, "'A historic event for humanity': US reaches turning point in fight against COVID-19 as FDA authorizes Pfizer vaccine," 12 Dec. 2020 The Democrats' hold on the Senate, split 50-50 with Harris able to cast a tie-breaking vote, is particularly fragile. Lisa Mascaro, Star Tribune, "Virus aid package tests whether Biden, Congress can deliver," 28 Jan. 2021 Life is most fragile for those at the bottom of the pyramid. Wsj Staff, WSJ, "Covid-19 Deals Different Hands for Family Finances," 29 Dec. 2020 The latter can be ceramic (which is unfortunately fragile), steel (usually with a protective chrome finish) or wood. Bob Beacham,, "The best shave kit," 22 Dec. 2020 But that cycle — a staple of a sport that has thrilled generations of fans with weekly offerings of the predictable and the downright ridiculous — is more fragile than ever because of the coronavirus pandemic. Alan Blinder, New York Times, "Confused by the College Football Playoff Rankings? We Can Help," 25 Nov. 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

25 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Fragile.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Mar. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce fragile (audio) \

Kids Definition of fragile

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

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