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frail1

[freyl] /freɪl/
adjective, frailer, frailest.
1.
having delicate health; not robust; weak:
My grandfather is rather frail now.
2.
easily broken or destroyed; fragile.
3.
morally weak; easily tempted.
noun
4.
Older Slang: Sometimes Offensive. a term used to refer to a girl or woman.
Origin of frail1
1300-1350
1300-50; Middle English frail(e), frel(e) < Old French < Latin fragilis fragile
Related forms
frailly, adverb
frailness, noun
Synonyms
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.
Antonyms
1, 2. sturdy.
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.

frail2

[freyl] /freɪl/
noun
1.
a flexible basket made of rushes, used especially for dried fruits, as dates, figs, or raisins.
2.
a certain quantity of raisins, about 75 pounds (34 kg), contained in such a basket.
Origin
1300-50; Middle English frayel, fraelle < Old French frayel < ?
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for frail
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Impulsively she reached out a strong brown hand and placed it lovingly over the frail one near her.

    Sisters Grace May North
  • Four muskets only were left within their frail intrenchments.

    King Philip John S. C. (John Stevens Cabot) Abbott
  • What matters it that this frame of dust be frail, and of tiny size—still may it be the tenement of a lordly spirit.

  • He nodded to me his frail and bony head in a wisely mysterious assent.

    The Shadow-Line Joseph Conrad
  • On this, the Company's servants began the task of strengthening their frail defences.

    The Great Company Beckles Willson
British Dictionary definitions for frail

frail1

/freɪl/
adjective
1.
physically weak and delicate
2.
fragile: a frail craft
3.
easily corrupted or tempted
Derived Forms
frailly, adverb
frailness, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Old French frele, from Latin fragilis, fragile

frail2

/freɪl/
noun
1.
a rush basket for figs or raisins
2.
a quantity of raisins or figs equal to between 50 and 75 pounds
Word Origin
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
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Word Origin and History for 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
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Slang definitions & phrases for frail

frail

noun

A woman, esp a young woman: in persuading frails to divulge what they know (1905+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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8
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