frail

1
[ freyl ]
/ freɪl /

adjective, frail·er, frail·est.

having delicate health; not robust; weak: My grandfather is rather frail now.
easily broken or destroyed; fragile.
morally weak; easily tempted.

noun

Older Slang: Sometimes Offensive. a term used to refer to a girl or woman.

Origin of frail

1
1300–50; Middle English frail(e), frel(e) < Old French < Latin fragilis fragile
SYNONYMS FOR frail
1, 2 feeble; breakable, frangible. Frail, brittle, fragile imply a delicacy or weakness of substance or construction. Frail applies particularly to health and immaterial things: a frail constitution; frail hopes. Brittle implies a hard material that snaps or breaks to pieces easily: brittle as glass. Fragile implies that the object must be handled carefully to avoid breakage or damage: fragile bric-a-brac.
Related formsfrail·ly, adverbfrail·ness, noun

Usage note

This term is sometimes perceived as insulting or condescending when used to refer to a woman, since it reinforces the stereotype of a weak female.

Definition for frail (2 of 2)

frail

2
[ freyl ]
/ freɪl /

noun

a flexible basket made of rushes, used especially for dried fruits, as dates, figs, or raisins.
a certain quantity of raisins, about 75 pounds (34 kg), contained in such a basket.

Origin of frail

2
1300–50; Middle English frayel, fraelle < Old French frayel < ?
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for frail

British Dictionary definitions for frail (1 of 2)

frail

1
/ (freɪl) /

adjective

physically weak and delicate
fragilea frail craft
easily corrupted or tempted
Derived Formsfrailly, adverbfrailness, noun

Word Origin for frail

C13: from Old French frele, from Latin fragilis, fragile

British Dictionary definitions for frail (2 of 2)

frail

2
/ (freɪl) /

noun

a rush basket for figs or raisins
a quantity of raisins or figs equal to between 50 and 75 pounds

Word Origin for frail

C13: from Old French fraiel, of uncertain origin
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 frail

frail


adj.

mid-14c., "morally weak," from Old French fraile "weak, frail, sickly, infirm" (Modern French frêle), from Latin fragilis "easily broken" (see fragility). Sense of "liable to break" is first recorded in English late 14c. The U.S. slang noun meaning "a woman" is attested from 1908.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper