Why was clemency trending last week?


[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.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for fragility
  • He was only in his forty-seventh year, but he dwelt darkly on the fragility of human existence.
  • Parts of the site will molder and must be allowed to, if only to show the fragility of life.
  • Also, its fragility creates quirks and imperfections, which help make every image unique.
  • Its fragility, however, made it especially prone to fracture.
  • So technical people, who can't help knowing about the fragility of systems, have had to find some way to live with what they know.
  • Against the backdrop of these dramatic elements, the authors juxtapose the planet's fragility.
  • He captured pictures fostering appreciation of both the beauty and fragility of the seas.
  • The exact timing of measures should be sensitive to developments in the economy, particularly the fragility of the recovery.
  • The economic crisis has revealed the fragility of its financial system.
  • It is the apparent fragility of the domestic economy that is the biggest headache now.
British Dictionary definitions for fragility


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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for fragility

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.



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
Cite This Source
fragility in Medicine

fragility fra·gil·i·ty (frə-jĭl'ĭ-tē)
The quality or state of being easily broken or destroyed.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for fragile

Most English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for fragility

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with fragility