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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.
fra•gil•i•ty(frəˈdʒɪl ɪ ti)
See Also: WEAKNESS
- As thin of substance as the air —William Shakespeare
- (Laughter … as) delicate and frail as new ice —Frederick Barthelme
- (She was) delicate as a pig was not —Pat Conroy
- Bones frail as a small bird’s —George Garrett
- Brittle as a dead tree —George Garrett
- Brittle as dry wood —Miller Williams
- Brittle as glass that breaks with a touch —Algernon Charles Swinburne
- Brittle as straw —Ellen Glasgow
- Brittle as twigs —Margaret Atwood
- (Her own body seemed) fragile and empty like blown glass —Margaret Atwood
- Fragile and rather beautiful, like a rare kind of mosquito —Lawrence Durrell
- Fragile as a bird’s egg —George Garrett
- Fragile as a chrysalis —John Updike
- Fragile as a coquillage bouquet —Truman Capote
Capote’s simile refers to Isak Dinesen.
- Fragile as a cup —Reynolds Price
- (Shoulder) fragile as a little bit of glass —Eudora Welty
- Fragile as ancient lace or parchment —George Garrett
- Fragile as a reed —Cornelia Otis Skinner
- (Her conical breasts look) fragile as birds’ eggs —R. V. Cassill
- Fragile as snowflakes —Sharon Sheehe Stark
- (She felt very weak and her plump body seemed, somehow, flat and) fragile, like a pressed leaf between the sheets —Helen Hudson
- Fragile … like a spider’s web —John Fowles
- Fragile like her good intentions —Marguerite Yourcenar
- Fragile, like the skin on scalded milk —Sharon Sheehe Stark
- Frail as a blade of grass —Belva Plain
- (She felt as) frail as a cobweb —Jonathan Kellerman
- Frail as a fading friendship —Anon
- Frail as antique earthenware —Sylvia Plath
Plath’s simile describes the occupants of an old ladies’ home.
- Frail as April snow —Wallace Stevens
- (Breasts rising) frail as blisters —Sharon Olds
- Frail as flesh —Laman Blanchard
- [School boys] frail, like thin-boned fledgling birds clamoring for food —Sylvia Berkman
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- Like a dry leaf closed into a book, he seemed frail and ready to crumble —Arthur A. Cohen
- More frail than the shadows on glasses —Algernon Charles Swinburne
- Promise as solid as a bundle of water —Hindu proverb
- (Hair and garments) tenuous as gauze —W. D. Snodgrass
- (You’re so old) you’re like a cup I could break in my hand —Paule Marshall
|Noun||1.||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"