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

Unsurprisingly, the document was extremely fragile and flaked when first handled. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "World's Oldest Periodic Table Found in Storage," 18 Jan. 2019 Abusers thrive in radical communities because radical norms are fragile and exploitable. . . WSJ, "Notable & Quotable: Radicals," 13 Dec. 2018 High on Life has trespassed into a sensitive archeological area at Machu Pichu, climbed Berlin’s Holocaust Memorial, affixed a rope swing to Utah’s picturesque, but fragile Corona Arch, and water skied behind an RV across the Bonneville Salt Flats. Wes Siler, Outside Online, "Doing It for the ‘Gram Turns Deadly," 9 July 2018 The nesting dolls reflect the incredibly complex, multilayered and fragile relationship between the U.S. and Russia. Elizabeth Myong, Houston Chronicle, "Russians in Houston have diverse views on international affairs," 8 July 2018 But after more than 160 years of use, the royal family made the decision to retire the historic and fragile fabric. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "Prince Louis's Christening Details: The Date, Venue, and What We Know About His Godparents," 20 June 2018 But there are questions concerning depth and Brazil's reliance on Neymar—who can be fragile or temperamental—and Gabriel Jesus, who’s 21 and relatively new to all this. Si.com Staff, SI.com, "World Cup Crystal Ball: Russia 2018's Dark Horse, Breakout Star, Golden Boot and More," 5 June 2018 Unwitting conservators of the past used standard sticky tape to try and hold together famous but fragile treasures, such as the Dead Sea scrolls and drawings by filmmaker Federico Fellini. National Geographic, "Tape Is Ruining Priceless Art. This New Gel Can Fix It.," 23 May 2018 The majority of Romaniote Jews were murdered in the Shoah, and many who remain are now too fragile to mount the stone steps leading to the sanctuary. Leslie Camhi, ELLE Decor, "Inside the World's Most Beautiful Synagogues," 5 Nov. 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

13 Feb 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

Comments on fragile

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