• synonyms


[fraj-uh l; British fraj-ahyl]
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  1. easily broken, shattered, or damaged; delicate; brittle; frail: a fragile ceramic container; a very fragile alliance.
  2. vulnerably delicate, as in appearance: She has a fragile beauty.
  3. lacking in substance or force; flimsy: a fragile excuse.
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Origin of fragile

1505–15; < Latin fragilis, equivalent to frag- (variant stem of frangere to break) + -ilis -ile
Related formsfrag·ile·ly, adverbfra·gil·i·ty [fruh-jil-i-tee] /frəˈdʒɪl ɪ ti/, frag·ile·ness, nounnon·frag·ile, adjectivenon·frag·ile·ly, adverbnon·frag·ile·ness, nounnon·fra·gil·i·ty, nouno·ver·frag·ile, adjectiveun·frag·ile, adjective
Can be confusedbrittle fragile frail1 (see synonym study at frail1)

Synonyms for fragile

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1. See frail1.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for fragile

weak, delicate, feeble, frail, brittle, crisp, crumbly, decrepit, fine, flimsy, friable, infirm, insubstantial, slight, unsound, frangible, shivery, weakly

Examples from the Web for fragile

Contemporary Examples of fragile

Historical Examples of fragile

  • You have seen that life is fragile, and evil is real, and courage triumphs.

  • How fragile as spider-webs, how almost laughable they seemed down here!

    It Happened in Egypt

    C. N. Williamson

  • In the legend she is a fragile woman guided by a divine soul.

    My Double Life

    Sarah Bernhardt

  • There was a crunching of fragile bones, and warm blood ran in his mouth.

    White Fang

    Jack London

  • For had he crashed, or smashed that fragile tube, all would have been in vain.

    Spawn of the Comet

    Harold Thompson Rich

British Dictionary definitions for fragile


  1. able to be broken easily
  2. in a weakened physical state
  3. delicate; lighta fragile touch
  4. slight; tenuousa fragile link with the past
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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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper