Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.


 (frăj′əl, -īl′)
1. Easily broken, damaged, or destroyed.
2. Lacking physical or emotional strength; delicate: a fragile personality.
3. Lacking substance; tenuous or flimsy: a fragile claim to fame.

[French, from Old French, from Latin fragilis, from frangere, frag-, to break; see bhreg- in Indo-European roots.]

frag′ile·ly adv.
fra·gil′i·ty (frə-jĭl′ĭ-tē), frag′ile·ness n.
Synonyms: fragile, breakable, frangible, flimsy, brittle
These adjectives mean easily broken or damaged. Fragile applies to objects that are not made of strong or sturdy material and that require great care when handled: fragile porcelain plates.
Breakable and frangible mean capable of being broken but do not necessarily imply inherent weakness: breakable toys; frangible bullets designed to break apart on impact.
Flimsy refers to what is easily broken because of inferior materials or workmanship: "Flimsy and loosely built structures collapsed like houses of cards under the terrific wrenching and shaking" (Richard L. Humphrey).
Brittle refers to inelasticity that makes something especially likely to fracture or snap when it is subjected to pressure: brittle bones. See Also Synonyms at weak.


(frəˈdʒɪl ɪ ti)
the quality of being fragile; weakness; delicacy.




  1. As thin of substance as the air —William Shakespeare
  2. (Laughter … as) delicate and frail as new ice —Frederick Barthelme
  3. (She was) delicate as a pig was not —Pat Conroy
  4. Bones frail as a small bird’s —George Garrett
  5. Brittle as a dead tree —George Garrett
  6. Brittle as dry wood —Miller Williams
  7. Brittle as glass that breaks with a touch —Algernon Charles Swinburne
  8. Brittle as straw —Ellen Glasgow
  9. Brittle as twigs —Margaret Atwood
  10. (Her own body seemed) fragile and empty like blown glass —Margaret Atwood
  11. Fragile and rather beautiful, like a rare kind of mosquito —Lawrence Durrell
  12. Fragile as a bird’s egg —George Garrett
  13. Fragile as a chrysalis —John Updike
  14. Fragile as a coquillage bouquet —Truman Capote

    Capote’s simile refers to Isak Dinesen.

  15. Fragile as a cup —Reynolds Price
  16. (Shoulder) fragile as a little bit of glass —Eudora Welty
  17. Fragile as ancient lace or parchment —George Garrett
  18. Fragile as a reed —Cornelia Otis Skinner
  19. (Her conical breasts look) fragile as birds’ eggs —R. V. Cassill
  20. Fragile as snowflakes —Sharon Sheehe Stark
  21. (She felt very weak and her plump body seemed, somehow, flat and) fragile, like a pressed leaf between the sheets —Helen Hudson
  22. Fragile … like a spider’s web —John Fowles
  23. Fragile like her good intentions —Marguerite Yourcenar
  24. Fragile, like the skin on scalded milk —Sharon Sheehe Stark
  25. Frail as a blade of grass —Belva Plain
  26. (She felt as) frail as a cobweb —Jonathan Kellerman
  27. Frail as a fading friendship —Anon
  28. Frail as antique earthenware —Sylvia Plath

    Plath’s simile describes the occupants of an old ladies’ home.

  29. Frail as April snow —Wallace Stevens
  30. (Breasts rising) frail as blisters —Sharon Olds
  31. Frail as flesh —Laman Blanchard
  32. [School boys] frail, like thin-boned fledgling birds clamoring for food —Sylvia Berkman
  33. I feel [fragile] like a poppy; one gust of wind and everything will blow away —Carla Lane, dialogue, “Solo,” British sitcom, broadcast June 23, 1987

    The reason the character in Lane’s script feels so fragile is that she is a woman in her fifties in a relationship with a much younger man.

  34. I felt like a moth hanging on the windowpane —Jacqueline Kennedy, Newsweek, January 21, 1961

    The occasion being described was her first night in the White House.

  35. Insubstantial … like fake wedding cakes in a bakery window —lots of whipped cream rosettes and garlands surrounding a hollow middle —Michiko Kakutani, New York Times
  36. Like a dry leaf closed into a book, he seemed frail and ready to crumble —Arthur A. Cohen
  37. More frail than the shadows on glasses —Algernon Charles Swinburne
  38. Promise as solid as a bundle of water —Hindu proverb
  39. (Hair and garments) tenuous as gauze —W. D. Snodgrass
  40. (You’re so old) you’re like a cup I could break in my hand —Paule Marshall
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.fragility - quality of being easily damaged or destroyed
vulnerability - susceptibility to injury or attack
2.fragility - lack of physical strength
weakness - the property of lacking physical or mental strength; liability to failure under pressure or stress or strain; "his weakness increased as he became older"; "the weakness of the span was overlooked until it collapsed"


1. vulnerability, weakness, instability, insecurity, precariousness the extreme fragility of the Right-wing coalition
2. weakness, delicacy, frailty, infirmity, feebleness, brittleness, frangibility seriously injured because of the fragility of their bones


هَشاشَه، سُرْعَة الإنْكِسار
kolayca kırılmanarinlik


[frəˈdʒɪlɪtɪ] N
1. (= breakable nature) [of object] → fragilidad f
2. (= delicacy, fineness) [of plant, beauty, person] → delicadeza f
3. (= frailty) [of person] → debilidad f; [of health] → precariedad f
4. (= instability) [of relationship] → fragilidad f, precariedad f


[frəˈdʒɪlɪti] nfragilité f
[bones, china, glass] → fragilité f
[peace, alliance, friendship] → fragilité f
[person] (physical)fragilité f; (emotional)fragilité f


n (of glass, china, object)Zerbrechlichkeit f; (of beauty, skin, child)Zartheit f; (of fabric)Feinheit f; (of elderly person)Gebrechlichkeit f; (of health)Zartheit f, → Anfälligkeit f; (of situation)Unsicherheit f; (of peace, ceasefire)Brüchigkeit f; (of mental state, economy)Labilität f; (of government, democracy)geschwächter Zustand


[frəˈdʒɪlɪtɪ] nfragilità


(ˈfrӕdʒail) , ((American) ˈfradʒəl) adjective
easily broken. a fragile glass vase.
fraˈgility (-ˈdʒi-) noun


n. fragilidad, con disposición a romperse o quebrarse con facilidad.
References in classic literature ?
She was like a bit of Dresden china, and I was continually impressed with what I may call her fragility.
Inside this exterior, over which the eye might have roved as over a thing scarcely percipient, almost inorganic, there was the record of a pulsing life which had learnt too well, for its years, of the dust and ashes of things, of the cruelty of lust and the fragility of love.
Physically, she was the perfect woman--you know what I mean, not in the gross, muscular way of acrobats, but in all the delicacy of line and fragility of frame and texture.
Let us add that in these times of lax morality they had no more delicacy with respect to the mistresses; and that the latter almost always left them valuable and durable remembrances, as if they essayed to conquer the fragility of their sentiments by the solidity of their gifts.
how unspeakably delicate the fragility of female friendship!
Possessed by most strong men's touching illusion as to the frailness of women and their spiritual fragility, it seemed to Anthony that he would be destroying, breaking something very precious inside that being.
Indeed, the confrontation with one's own fragility can be deeply enriching, with the right support.
While he is tempted to push his cultural and historical allegory to its extremes, he sometimes attempts to recognize the fragility of the exercise.
He has a wide variety of wonderful accents, a body that morphs in a moment from gym boy to middle-aged man, perfect comic timing, and compassion for the fragility of the human heart.
the most likely consequence of that fragility will be to render U.
what ancient majestic sculptor chiseled the antique fragility of your sable face was it your limpid seagreen eyes
Using insights from nonlinear dynamical systems theory, we shall put forward the idea that any assumption of the general validity or invalidity of ceteris paribus laws amounts to a stability or fragility assumption, respectively.