frail·​ty ˈfrāl-tē How to pronounce frailty (audio)
plural frailties
: the quality or state of being frail
the frailty of her health
the frailty and disability in the elderly
: a fault due to weakness especially of moral character
Satire … often employs irony and sarcasm to denounce the frailties and faults of mankind. Harry Shaw
Choose the Right Synonym for frailty

fault, failing, frailty, foible, vice mean an imperfection or weakness of character.

fault implies a failure, not necessarily culpable, to reach some standard of perfection in disposition, action, or habit.

a writer of many virtues and few faults

failing suggests a minor shortcoming in character.

being late is a failing of mine

frailty implies a general or chronic proneness to yield to temptation.

human frailties

foible applies to a harmless or endearing weakness or idiosyncrasy.

an eccentric's charming foibles

vice can be a general term for any imperfection or weakness, but it often suggests violation of a moral code or the giving of offense to the moral sensibilities of others.

compulsive gambling was his vice

Example Sentences

the frailty of her voice We can no longer be surprised by the frailties of our political leaders.
Recent Examples on the Web But there was also a sign of human grief and frailty: a tiny wreath of olive leaves and cornflowers placed on the king’s forehead, with fragile petals that still had a tinge of blue. Jo Marchant, Smithsonian Magazine, 3 Nov. 2022 There’s a link between hearing loss and general frailty and an increasing risk of falls, which are the second leading cause of unintentional deaths worldwide, according to the World Health Association. Jen Christensen, CNN, 17 Oct. 2022 While neither issue has prohibited his governing of the church, the events have stood as a reminder about the frailty of old age and have intensified questions about his longevity. Stefano Pitrelli, Washington Post, 28 Aug. 2022 Even at 96 years old, England’s longest-serving monarch rarely, if ever, allowed the public a glimpse of her frailty. Lauren Puckett-pope, ELLE, 8 Sep. 2022 But poor balance and musculoskeletal fitness can be linked with frailty in older adults, Araújo wrote in an email. Linda Carroll, NBC News, 21 June 2022 In a small study without a placebo control, a senolytic drug appeared to alleviate frailty in elderly men and women with a serious lung disease, Dr. Kirkland says. Ron Winslow, WSJ, 11 Jan. 2022 Afterwards, caretaker manager Danny Stone — an assistant who stepped in with manager Juan Guerra out due to an agreement with Oakland, his former club — blamed Rising’s defensive frailty on its offensive carelessness. Theo Mackie, The Arizona Republic, 10 Sep. 2022 Toward the end of the queen’s life, Charles took on more of her duties, as a function of the queen’s increasing frailty but also, commentators said, as a way to prepare the public for his looming reign. Alexander Smith, NBC News, 8 Sep. 2022 See More

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

Word History


Middle English frelete, freelte, borrowed from Anglo-French freleté, going back to Latin fragilitāt-, fragilitās, from fragilis "liable to break, weak, fragile" + -itāt-, -itās -ity

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of frailty was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near frailty

Cite this Entry

“Frailty.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition



frail·​ty ˈfrā(-ə)l-tē How to pronounce frailty (audio)
plural frailties
: the quality or state of being frail
: a weakness of character

More from Merriam-Webster on frailty

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