Definition of fragile in English:

fragile

adjective

  • 1(of an object) easily broken or damaged.

    ‘fragile items such as glass and china’
    • ‘Tourists also damage the fragile ecosystem by dumping plastic waste and driving over the grasslands.’
    • ‘The damage plastic had done to the fragile hill environment was also highlighted.’
    • ‘Some farmers were busy pumping water from fields in a bid to save fragile crops from fungal and root damage.’
    • ‘Shaver blades are fragile and easily can shatter or break inside the cavity in which they are used.’
    • ‘Stone walls with fragile mortars can be damaged by high pressure sprays and the chemicals used.’
    • ‘So, at ten o'clock, after a slight and fragile encore by the band, we were all promptly told to get out.’
    • ‘Those toys, made of plastic, wood or cloth, were very expensive but fragile, and easily broken.’
    • ‘Introduced reindeer and muskoxen have thrived to such a degree that heavy grazing now threatens to damage the fragile vegetation.’
    • ‘How has awareness of the damage irrigation can cause these fragile environments affected the Lake?’
    • ‘It had not occurred to them that a side-effect of their research might be damaging to the fragile ecology of the country they were studying.’
    • ‘He said that regular cleaning had been carried out, but that it had a down side in that damage could be caused to fragile books and bindings.’
    • ‘These rolls were rather fragile and easily torn, so they tended to become damaged if much used.’
    • ‘I suspect that the joystick will prove to be fragile and unreliable, but I don't have any data to support that.’
    • ‘It's best to watch them from the openings rather than swimming in, because you could damage the fragile coral roofs and frighten them off.’
    breakable, easily broken, brittle, frangible, smashable, splintery, flimsy, weak, frail, insubstantial, delicate, dainty, fine
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    1. 1.1 Easily destroyed or threatened.
      ‘you have a fragile grip on reality’
      • ‘Unfortunately, Peter is also quickly losing his already fragile grip on reality.’
      • ‘Even in normal circumstances, identity is a fragile, nebulous thing.’
      • ‘Separatist conflicts are threatening to destroy the country's fragile democracy.’
      • ‘Defeat would leave them pointless and inflict further damage on their already fragile self-confidence.’
      • ‘The measures came as sectarian attacks threaten to derail a fragile peace deal.’
      • ‘Consider the possibility, however, and you realise how fragile the Government's grip on the situation is.’
      • ‘Heaven forbid we damage someone's fragile ego by telling them the truth about their capabilities or who they are!’
      • ‘Meanwhile other developments threatened to upset the fragile strategic nuclear balance.’
      • ‘1577 to 1584 was an era of tenuous and fragile peace which could have been broken at any time.’
      • ‘It will destroy the fragile institutions of international law built up over the last few decades.’
      • ‘As soon as we attempt to do so we will start to discover just how fragile our unity is.’
      • ‘Its democratic institutions have always been weak and fragile.’
      • ‘However, as the stormy debates at the conference demonstrated, this fragile unity has not been easily won.’
      • ‘The situation worsens, and threatens the fragile peace and stability of an entire region.’
      • ‘The ideal of tolerance and sympathy, therefore, could be extremely tenuous and fragile.’
      • ‘Trust is a fragile commodity, easily lost and hard to regain.’
      • ‘Markets remain fragile and are easily upset by international tensions.’
      • ‘If too many emerge, it could have a devastating impact on global equity markets and destroy the current fragile confidence.’
      • ‘Countless daily suicide bombings are threatening to tear the fragile nature of the community apart completely.’
      • ‘This has done serious damage to the fragile alliance that still supports free trade.’
      tenuous, easily broken, easily destroyed, easily threatened, vulnerable, perilous, flimsy, shaky, rocky, risky, unreliable, suspect, nebulous, unsound, insecure
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    2. 1.2 (of a person) not strong or sturdy; delicate and vulnerable.
      ‘a small, fragile old lady’
      ‘his fragile health somewhat improved’
      • ‘The true owner of the institution is his fragile wife, Christina, who is also a cardiac patient.’
      • ‘Dad is in a home in Belfast, as he is very fragile, but still cheerful and asking when the dancing starts.’
      • ‘The last time was the night after the firework and I was too fragile to stand in that pub with fireworks going off all over London.’
      • ‘We are fragile and vulnerable, and shall remain so for as long as we are creatures.’
      • ‘He was fragile and brilliant, and those things came to bear in the decisions he made and what happened to his government.’
      • ‘It was a slightly distasteful thing to watch, this video diary of a fragile man in need of help.’
      • ‘This painful condition renders bones so fragile that even a slight knock or fall can break them.’
      • ‘The parents may complain that they are too fragile to deal with a child who is so burdensome.’
      • ‘Although still weak and fragile, it was decided she should return to her home environment.’
      • ‘I wouldn't say he was ill at the time we saw him, but he certainly was fragile and weak.’
      • ‘Let's work together and show that scumbag that you are not weak and fragile.’
      • ‘We are a peaceful people - yet we're not a fragile people, and we will not be intimidated by thugs and killers.’
      • ‘At least that way she could go and buy some powdered milk for her stick-thin fragile children.’
      • ‘The artificial ventilation of the lungs can damage the fragile lungs of these severely premature babies.’
      • ‘Carting him around my district must have damaged his already fragile body somehow!’
      • ‘He and his wife are fragile, physically unprepossessing and teary-eyed from the outset.’
      • ‘His boss had given him a few days off from work to watch over his ailing daughter and fragile wife.’
      • ‘In this case the most frail and fragile patients, newborns, are the ones who are being affected.’
      • ‘The brains of premature babies are fed by a rich network of tiny blood vessels which are thin, fragile and easily damaged.’
      • ‘The smallest of them all, a fragile child in a deep sandal-beige coloured frock, stood in the middle.’
      weak, delicate, frail, debilitated, tottery, shaky, trembly, ill, unwell, ailing, poorly, sickly, infirm, feeble, enfeebled, unsound
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Origin

Late 15th century (in the sense ‘morally weak’): from Latin fragilis, from frangere ‘to break’. The sense ‘liable to break’ dates from the mid 16th century.

Pronunciation

fragile

/ˈfradʒʌɪl/