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 The past two months have demonstrated that American democracy is not fragile, as so many people seem to be saying, but is rather remarkably durable, even in chaotic and challenging times. Star Tribune, "Readers Write: American democracy, Trump's potential self-pardon," 8 Jan. 2021 My husband works in the hotel industry so, needless to say, our nerves were fragile. NBC News, "A fire and the Covid-19 pandemic nearly destroyed my business – Here's how I hit the reset button," 29 Dec. 2020 One of the beautiful things about this pandemic is ... anything that reminds people that life is fragile is a boon. George Mccalman,, "Alonzo King on gratitude, art as nutrition and living for now in an era of transformation," 28 Dec. 2020 The devices cost more than $1,300, the screen technology is fragile, and the hinges used for folding will eventually break. New York Times, "Tech That Was Fixed," 23 Dec. 2020 The Arctic is fragile, and accelerated climate change is already stressing its biodiversity. Tyler Freel, Outdoor Life, "Drilling for Oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: Two Perspectives from Alaskan Outdoorsmen," 21 Dec. 2020 This is a fairly rapid process because the mRNA is fragile. Tara C. Smith, SELF, "9 Major Questions About mRNA Coronavirus Vaccines, Answered," 21 Dec. 2020 But Biden may very well want to keep Powell, a President Trump nominee, as Fed chair to ensure continuity at the helm of the central bank at a time when the economy is still fragile. Paul R. La Monica, CNN, "Why Biden might follow Trump's lead when it comes to the Fed," 15 Dec. 2020 One major drawback is that messenger RNA is fragile, and must reach cells before the body breaks it down. Robert Langreth,, "First Covid Vaccines’ Triumph Raises Hope for Cancer Fight," 13 Dec. 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

20 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Fragile.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for fragile


How to pronounce fragile (audio)

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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Comments on fragile

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