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

His game has looked rusty and his body has looked frail. Daniel Rapaport, SI.com, "From Augusta to East Lake: 18 Parting Thoughts From the 2019 PGA Tour Season," 26 Aug. 2019 The few who are still alive are just too old or frail to come to the convention. Tribune News Service, cleveland.com, "50 years of San Diego Comic-Con: What we’ve gained and lost in five decades of pop culture celebrations (See latest photos)," 18 July 2019 His 6-foot-8, 190-pound frame looks frail compared to the other players during summer-league competition. Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Pistons' Deividas Sirvydis shows off 3-point shooting in summer league," 2 July 2019 Needless to say, the RoboBee X-Wing is far too frail to carry a battery, which would be several times heavier than the rest of the vehicle. Matt Simon, WIRED, "What Could Possibly Be Cooler Than RoboBee? RoboBee X-Wing," 26 June 2019 Madison’s lawyers in court filings described him as a physically and mentally frail man who attended a competency hearing in a wheelchair. Kim Chandler, The Seattle Times, "Court to explore competency claim of ailing Alabama inmate," 1 Oct. 2018 He is transformed from a sickly, frail man to the peak of human physiology. Sonia Rao, chicagotribune.com, "Everything that's happened leading up to 'Avengers: Infinity War'," 24 Apr. 2018 Check on older, sick, or frail people who may need help responding to the heat. Leada Gore | Lgore@al.com, al, "Excessive heat warning: How hot does it feel? Heat index, safety tips," 13 Aug. 2019 On one side are people who are old and frail but can breathe and eat on their own. Los Angeles Times, "Column One: He’d been kept alive with tubes for nearly 17 years. Who is he, and is it possible he’s conscious?," 1 Aug. 2019

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

8 Sep 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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