frail

adjective
\ˈfrāl \

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from frail

frailly \ˈfrā(l)-​lē \ 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

This year, some plans will start providing limited assistance to help keep frail seniors safe in their own homes instead of nursing homes. Ricardo Alonso-zaldivar, The Seattle Times, "Medicare upgrades its website ahead of sign-up season," 2 Oct. 2018 In some cases, owners who are too frail or poor to travel have had success simply asking the resort to take back their timeshares, says Brian Rogers, owner of Timeshare Users Group, a forum for timeshare owners. Liz Weston, The Seattle Times, "How not to inherit mom’s timeshare | Liz Weston," 1 Oct. 2018 After 13 months, the stress from all of her cloak-and-dagger dealings became so intense that the 38-year-old mom came down with shingles (a disease that usually strikes the old and frail). Blake Miller, Redbook, "Are You or Your Partner Committing Financial Infidelity?," 21 Jan. 2012 Silva was frail, emaciated and had a terrible odor. Claire Dodson, Teen Vogue, "Ross Butler Denied He Was Involved in an Alleged Plot to Steal a Kurt Cobain Guitar," 17 Oct. 2018 Venus, a 2006 British dramedy written by Hanif Kureishi and directed by Roger Michell, starring Peter O’Toole as a frail old actor and Jodie Whittaker as the feisty young woman who becomes his companion. Noel Murray, The Verge, "This weekend, stream Venus, the breakthrough film for Doctor Who’s Thirteenth Doctor," 5 Oct. 2018 His superiors dashed his hopes, however, citing his frail health at the time. Nicole Winfield, Fox News, "Pope says he hopes to visit Japan next year, fulfilling wish," 12 Sep. 2018 Sentsov has lost about 20 kilograms (44 pounds) and is very frail, according to his lawyer. Washington Post, "Jailed Ukrainian filmmaker’s mother asks Putin to pardon him," 13 July 2018 The other recalls King’s principles in defending the unborn, Down syndrome and other disabled people, the frail elderly, and every life. Cornel West And, WSJ, "Dr. King’s Radical Biblical Vision," 5 Apr. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about frail

Dictionary Entries near frail

fraid

fraidy-cat

fraik

frail

frailejón

frailty

fraim

Statistics for frail

Last Updated

15 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for frail

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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 \

Kids Definition of frail

: very delicate or weak a frail little child

Keep scrolling for more

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

What made you want to look up frail? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a knickknack or trinket

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Find the Cousins

  • a-large-tree-with-many-branches
  • Which pair shares a common word ancestor?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!