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fragile

[fraj-uh l; British fraj-ahyl]
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adjective
  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 fragility

frailty, delicacy, brittleness

Examples from the Web for fragility

Contemporary Examples of fragility

Historical Examples of fragility

  • Laurent selected a skiff, which appeared so light that Camille was terrified by its fragility.

    Therese Raquin

    Emile Zola

  • The Colonel was carried into this room, with all the care necessitated by his fragility.

  • In spite of her fragility she was, from the habit of self-control, a stronger spirit.

    Robert Orange

    John Oliver Hobbes

  • An appearance of delicacy, and even of fragility, is almost essential to beauty.

    Pearls of Thought

    Maturin M. Ballou

  • There was neither too much flesh, nor too little,—neither rudeness nor fragility.


British Dictionary definitions for fragility

fragile

adjective
  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 fragility

n.

late 14c., "moral weakness," from Old French fragilité "debility, frailty" (12c.), from Latin fragilitatem (nominative fragilitas) "brittleness," from fragilis "brittle, easily broken," from root of frangere "to break" (see fraction). Meaning "quality of being easily broken" first recorded in English late 15c.

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fragile

adj.

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

fragility in Medicine

fragility

(frə-jĭlĭ-tē)
n.
  1. The quality or state of being easily broken or destroyed.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.