[ fraj-uh l; British fraj-ahyl ]
/ ˈfrædʒ əl; British ˈfrædʒ aɪl /


easily broken, shattered, or damaged; delicate; brittle; frail: a fragile ceramic container; a very fragile alliance.
vulnerably delicate, as in appearance: She has a fragile beauty.
lacking in substance or force; flimsy: a fragile excuse.

Nearby words

  1. fractus,
  2. frae,
  3. fraenulum,
  4. fraenum,
  5. frag,
  6. fragile site,
  7. fragile x syndrome,
  8. fragile x-chromosome,
  9. fragile-x syndrome,
  10. fragilely

Origin of fragile

1505–15; < Latin fragilis, equivalent to frag- (variant stem of frangere to break) + -ilis -ile

Related forms
Can be confusedbrittle fragile frail1 (see synonym study at frail1) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for fragile

British Dictionary definitions for fragile


/ (ˈfrædʒaɪl) /


able to be broken easily
in a weakened physical state
delicate; lighta fragile touch
slight; tenuousa fragile link with the past
Derived Formsfragilely, adverbfragility (frəˈdʒɪlɪtɪ) or fragileness, noun

Word Origin for fragile

C17: from Latin fragilis, from frangere to break

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for fragile



1510s, "liable to sin, morally weak;" c.1600, "liable to break;" a back-formation from fragility, or else from Middle French fragile (14c.), from Latin fragilis (see fragility). Transferred sense of "frail" (of persons) is from 1858.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper