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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
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Still she was a slender, fragile little creature, and you saw that the rude winds of life had swept too early over her.

    Fashion and Famine Ann S. Stephens
  • How fragile as spider-webs, how almost laughable they seemed down here!

    It Happened in Egypt C. N. Williamson
  • Yet, in the storms of this rude world, how often does it prove a fragile thing.

    The Young Maiden A. B. (Artemas Bowers) Muzzey
  • In the legend she is a fragile woman guided by a divine soul.

    My Double Life Sarah Bernhardt
  • It had been so fragile, that even the sound of its breaking was thin and evanescent like a note blown, not struck.

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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