fran·​gi·​ble ˈfran-jə-bəl How to pronounce frangible (audio)
: readily or easily broken
frangibility noun
Choose the Right Synonym for frangible

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

Example Sentences

frangible china teacups that were totally inappropriate for a child's birthday party
Recent Examples on the Web If the boat does not stop, the Interceptor pulls alongside and the agent fires with disintegrating frangible ammunition into the boat’s engine. New York Times, 28 Jan. 2021 Nagel pumped the shotgun and chambered the first frangible round. New York Times, 28 Jan. 2021 At 1,000 metres, a frangible bolt—which was supposed to detach explosively in the event of power loss to shed weight—broke off. The Economist, 6 Sep. 2019 Now the team, led by Professor of Computer Vision Paul Rosin, is asking for more texts too fragile to be opened, hoping to ease the burden on historical researchers hesitant to examine the frangible objects. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, 4 Oct. 2018 Details needed to be worked out, such as a requirement that school guns fire only frangible bullets, which break apart into small pieces and are unlikely to pass through victims, as a way to limit the danger to innocent students. Todd C. Frankel, Washington Post, 19 May 2018 Ascendance International was exhibiting its trademark frangible bullets with a full-auto AR-15. Elliott Woods, The New Republic, 16 Apr. 2018 This guy visited Bam two months ago to take extensive tourist pictures of Bam’s famous and highly frangible mud-brick structures. Wired Staff, WIRED, 30 Dec. 2003 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'frangible.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


Middle English, borrowed from Middle French & Medieval Latin; Middle French, borrowed from Medieval Latin frangibilis, from Latin frangere "to break, shatter" + -ibilis -ible — more at break entry 1

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of frangible was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near frangible

Cite this Entry

“Frangible.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Mar. 2023.

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