Synonym Chooser

How does the adjective frail contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of frail are decrepit, feeble, fragile, infirm, and weak. While all these words mean "not strong enough to endure strain, pressure, or strenuous effort," frail implies delicacy and slightness of constitution or structure.

a frail teenager unable to enjoy sports

When would decrepit be a good substitute for frail?

The words decrepit and frail can be used in similar contexts, but decrepit implies being worn-out or broken-down from long use or old age.

the dowager's decrepit retainers

When could feeble be used to replace frail?

While the synonyms feeble and frail are close in meaning, feeble suggests extreme weakness inviting pity or contempt.

a feeble attempt to walk

When can fragile be used instead of frail?

In some situations, the words fragile and frail are roughly equivalent. However, fragile suggests frailty and brittleness unable to resist rough usage.

a reclusive poet too fragile for the rigors of this world

Where would infirm be a reasonable alternative to frail?

While in some cases nearly identical to frail, infirm suggests instability, unsoundness, and insecurity due to old age or crippling illness.

infirm residents requiring constant care

When is weak a more appropriate choice than frail?

The words weak and frail are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, weak applies to deficiency or inferiority in strength or power of any sort.

felt weak after the surgery

Thesaurus Entries Near frail

Cite this Entry

“Frail.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Dec. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on frail

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