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[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.
Origin of fragile
1505-15; < Latin fragilis, equivalent to frag- (variant stem of frangere to break) + -ilis -ile
Related forms
fragilely, adverb
[fruh-jil-i-tee] /frəˈdʒɪl ɪ ti/ (Show IPA),
fragileness, noun
nonfragile, adjective
nonfragilely, adverb
nonfragileness, noun
nonfragility, noun
overfragile, adjective
unfragile, adjective
Can be confused
brittle, fragile, frail (see synonym study at frail)
1. See frail1 . Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for fragile
  • Acid rain destroyed fish populations in lakes and streams, harmed fragile soils and damaged millions of acres of forest worldwide.
  • Examination under a high-powered microscope revealed a trio of narrow grooves cut into the fragile wax.
  • What the journey of a handful of dust tells us about our fragile planet.
  • Our lives already rely on fragile information networks, and will soon be constantly recorded.
  • Maybe the chemicals in the plastic bottle leak into the formula and damage the small fragile brain.
  • They were big, they generated a lot of heat, they were fragile.
  • Tempting as it is to reply to you in kind, it would be cruel to do so to one with such a fragile grip on logic.
  • Our fragile world can secure only the fundamental science, fundamental new knowledge.
  • What's more, the pork comes in a cruelly fragile bun, which leaves you cupping fistfuls of meat and disintegrating bread.
  • All their bedrooms had slanted clapboard walls and oil lamps that bathed everything in fragile golden light.
British Dictionary definitions for fragile


able to be broken easily
in a weakened physical state
delicate; light: a fragile touch
slight; tenuous: a fragile link with the past
Derived Forms
fragilely, adverb
fragility (frəˈdʒɪlɪtɪ), fragileness, noun
Word Origin
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
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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
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fragile in Technology
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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