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 frail (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 Some of the residents who’d lost antibodies were too frail to receive the news themselves, so the facility’s head nurse sent emails to their families. Chico Harlan And Mia Alberti, Anchorage Daily News, 1 Oct. 2021 Some of the residents who’d lost antibodies were too frail to receive the news themselves, so the facility’s head nurse sent emails to their families. Chico Harlan And Mia Alberti, Anchorage Daily News, 1 Oct. 2021 Some of the residents who’d lost antibodies were too frail to receive the news themselves, so the facility’s head nurse sent emails to their families. Washington Post, 30 Sep. 2021 In a grim recommendation, Balter also asked providers to reach out to patients who had serious illnesses or were medically frail to review their advanced-care directives and ensure forms detailing their end-of-life care were on file. Los Angeles Times, 24 Dec. 2020 Testing 700 residents, many of whom are immobile, frail and elderly, also takes time. Sarah Ravani, SFChronicle.com, 19 May 2020 In this way, the world becomes an egg: small and frail but otherwise perfect, like the start of everything. Celeste Sloman, National Geographic, 1 Apr. 2020 Those housing the most frail are disinfecting common areas more regularly, stocking up on masks and thermometers and barring visitors who could pose... Arian Campo-flores, WSJ, 16 Mar. 2020 The homes are populated largely by frail men and women, some of them veterans of World War II and Korea, and many from the Vietnam War era. Dan Morain, Los Angeles Times, 10 May 2020

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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Time Traveler for frail

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near frail

fraik

frail

frailejón

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Statistics for frail

Last Updated

22 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Frail.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/frail. Accessed 23 Oct. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on frail

Nglish: Translation of frail for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of frail for Arabic Speakers

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