frag·​ile | \ ˈfra-jəl How to pronounce fragile (audio) , -ˌjī(-ə)l \

Definition of fragile

1a : easily broken or destroyed a fragile vase fragile bones
b : constitutionally (see constitutionally sense 1a) delicate : lacking in vigor a fragile child
2 : tenuous, slight fragile hope a fragile coalition

Other Words from fragile

fragility \ frə-​ˈji-​lə-​tē How to pronounce fragile (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for fragile

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

synonyms see in addition weak

Examples of fragile in a Sentence

Her health has always been very fragile. an artist with a fragile ego He is in an emotionally fragile state. The two countries have formed a fragile coalition.
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Recent Examples on the Web The 3,500-year-old mummy, decorated with a wooden face mask and flower garlands, was deemed too fragile to open. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 1 Jan. 2022 The tree might be extinct, or too fragile to save from that eventual fate. Marion Renault, The New Republic, 20 Dec. 2021 The appellate court overturned a lower court ruling that found the WikiLeaks founder's mental health was too fragile to handle the American criminal justice system. Taylor Wilson, USA TODAY, 11 Dec. 2021 Very delicate cookies such as pizzelles and tuiles are too fragile for the freezer and should be eaten within a few days of baking. Paul Stephen, San Antonio Express-News, 22 Nov. 2021 Still, after more than 30 years in the archives, the original was far too fragile to function as a costume. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, 5 Nov. 2021 Appealing against the January decision, an attorney for the U.S. government on Wednesday denied that Assange’s mental health was too fragile to withstand the U.S. judicial system. Jill Lawless, Anchorage Daily News, 27 Oct. 2021 The prevailing notion at the time was that women were too fragile to run more than a few hundred feet. Anna Schaverien, New York Times, 8 Oct. 2021 Analyzing what happened, scientists and engineers working on the mission concluded that the first rock was just too fragile and the sample fell out. The New York Times, Arkansas Online, 8 Sep. 2021

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

1521, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for fragile

borrowed from Middle French & Latin; Middle French fragile, borrowed from Latin fragilis, from frag-, variant stem of frangere "to break, shatter" + -ilis "subject to, susceptible to (the action of the verb)" (alteration of -ibilis -ible, originally by haplology after verb stems ending in a labial consonant) — more at break entry 1

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Time Traveler for fragile

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The first known use of fragile was in 1521

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Dictionary Entries Near fragile



fragile fern

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Last Updated

8 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Fragile.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for fragile



English Language Learners Definition of fragile

: easily broken or damaged : very delicate : not strong


frag·​ile | \ ˈfra-jəl How to pronounce fragile (audio) \

Kids Definition of fragile

: easily broken or hurt : delicate a fragile dish a fragile child

More from Merriam-Webster on fragile

Nglish: Translation of fragile for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of fragile for Arabic Speakers


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