frail

adjective
\ ˈfrāl How to pronounce frail (audio) \

Definition of frail

1 : easily led into evil frail humanity
2 : easily broken or destroyed : fragile frail, open-cockpit biplanes …— Jonathan Weiner
3a : physically weak a frail old woman a frail voice
b : slight, unsubstantial smiled a minute frail smile— Raymond Chandler

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Other Words from frail

frailly \ ˈfrā(l)-​lē How to pronounce frailly (audio) \ adverb
frailness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for frail

weak, feeble, frail, fragile, infirm, decrepit mean not strong enough to endure strain, pressure, or strenuous effort. weak applies to deficiency or inferiority in strength or power of any sort. felt weak after the surgery feeble suggests extreme weakness inviting pity or contempt. a feeble attempt to walk frail implies delicacy and slightness of constitution or structure. a frail teenager unable to enjoy sports fragile suggests frailty and brittleness unable to resist rough usage. a reclusive poet too fragile for the rigors of this world infirm suggests instability, unsoundness, and insecurity due to old age or crippling illness. infirm residents requiring constant care decrepit implies being worn-out or broken-down from long use or old age. the dowager's decrepit retainers

Examples of frail in a Sentence

In his old age his health became increasingly frail. a small and frail ship

Recent Examples on the Web

Monsters from that dimension sometimes possess frail tween boys. Ariana Romero, refinery29.com, "Ready To Binge Stranger Things Season 3? Here's Where We Left Off," 5 July 2019 In Germany, women were considered too frail and too prone to injury, while in England, the Football Assn. closed its facilities to women, arguing publicly that soccer damaged women’s bodies. Kevin Baxter, latimes.com, "Jill Ellis came to America to prosper in soccer, and now, the world is catching up," 29 June 2019 Or consider frail elders, a growing subset of patients who require interventions to prevent falls, manage multiple comorbidities, and plan end-of-life care. STAT, "We were inspired to become primary care physicians. Now we’re reconsidering a field in crisis," 20 June 2019 In addition, the two countries have since followed slightly different paths to elderly care: Sweden tends to target the frailest whereas Denmark takes a slightly broader approach. James W Vaupel, Quartz, "How long can humans live?," 2 June 2019 The task of finding usable veins—in this case, on a cancerous, frail, and prematurely aged body—is now revealed as merely the latest chapter in this ghoulish history. The New York Review of Books, "Bernard E. Harcourt," 29 Nov. 2018 In some instances observed by inspectors, nursing staff failed to take steps necessary to protect frail patients from the risk of falls. Mike Hixenbaugh, ProPublica, "Blistering Report Details Serious Safety Lapses at St. Luke’s in Houston," 17 May 2019 With slicked-back grey hair and a frail frame, Salemme is almost unrecognizable from the bulky mob boss depicted in grainy surveillance photos from his heyday. Fox News, "Ex-Mafia boss 'Cadillac Frank' sentenced to life in prison," 13 Sep. 2018 In court Tuesday, a frail Perrault repeatedly asked a judge and lawyers to speak up and needed headphones to listen to arguments. Russell Contreras, The Seattle Times, "Priest accused of child sex abuse behind bars pending trial," 25 Sep. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'frail.' 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 frail

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for frail

Middle English frele, frayle, borrowed from Anglo-French frel, fraile, going back to Latin fragilis "liable to break, weak" — more at fragile

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Dictionary Entries near frail

fraid

fraidy-cat

fraik

frail

frailejón

frailty

fraim

Statistics for frail

Last Updated

14 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for frail

The first known use of frail was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for frail

frail

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of frail

: having less than a normal amount of strength or force : very weak
: easily damaged or destroyed

frail

adjective
\ ˈfrāl How to pronounce frail (audio) \

Kids Definition of frail

: very delicate or weak a frail little child

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More from Merriam-Webster on frail

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with frail

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for frail

Spanish Central: Translation of frail

Nglish: Translation of frail for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of frail for Arabic Speakers

Comments on frail

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