Definition of fragile in US English:

fragile

adjective

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

    • ‘Tourists also damage the fragile ecosystem by dumping plastic waste and driving over the grasslands.’
    • ‘I suspect that the joystick will prove to be fragile and unreliable, but I don't have any data to support that.’
    • ‘The damage plastic had done to the fragile hill environment was also highlighted.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘So, at ten o'clock, after a slight and fragile encore by the band, we were all promptly told to get out.’
    • ‘These rolls were rather fragile and easily torn, so they tended to become damaged if much used.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘How has awareness of the damage irrigation can cause these fragile environments affected the Lake?’
    • ‘Stone walls with fragile mortars can be damaged by high pressure sprays and the chemicals used.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Some farmers were busy pumping water from fields in a bid to save fragile crops from fungal and root damage.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Shaver blades are fragile and easily can shatter or break inside the cavity in which they are used.’
    breakable, easily broken, brittle, frangible, smashable, splintery, flimsy, weak, frail, insubstantial, delicate, dainty, fine
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    1. 1.1 Flimsy or insubstantial; easily destroyed.
      ‘you have a fragile grip on reality’
      • ‘Even in normal circumstances, identity is a fragile, nebulous thing.’
      • ‘If too many emerge, it could have a devastating impact on global equity markets and destroy the current fragile confidence.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, Peter is also quickly losing his already fragile grip on reality.’
      • ‘Markets remain fragile and are easily upset by international tensions.’
      • ‘However, as the stormy debates at the conference demonstrated, this fragile unity has not been easily won.’
      • ‘As soon as we attempt to do so we will start to discover just how fragile our unity is.’
      • ‘The ideal of tolerance and sympathy, therefore, could be extremely tenuous and fragile.’
      • ‘Separatist conflicts are threatening to destroy the country's fragile democracy.’
      • ‘It will destroy the fragile institutions of international law built up over the last few decades.’
      • ‘Heaven forbid we damage someone's fragile ego by telling them the truth about their capabilities or who they are!’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Countless daily suicide bombings are threatening to tear the fragile nature of the community apart completely.’
      • ‘Meanwhile other developments threatened to upset the fragile strategic nuclear balance.’
      • ‘Defeat would leave them pointless and inflict further damage on their already fragile self-confidence.’
      • ‘The situation worsens, and threatens the fragile peace and stability of an entire region.’
      • ‘1577 to 1584 was an era of tenuous and fragile peace which could have been broken at any time.’
      • ‘Its democratic institutions have always been weak and fragile.’
      • ‘Trust is a fragile commodity, easily lost and hard to regain.’
      • ‘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.
      • ‘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 a peaceful people - yet we're not a fragile people, and we will not be intimidated by thugs and killers.’
      • ‘Although still weak and fragile, it was decided she should return to her home environment.’
      • ‘He was fragile and brilliant, and those things came to bear in the decisions he made and what happened to his government.’
      • ‘The parents may complain that they are too fragile to deal with a child who is so burdensome.’
      • ‘In this case the most frail and fragile patients, newborns, are the ones who are being affected.’
      • ‘This painful condition renders bones so fragile that even a slight knock or fall can break them.’
      • ‘We are fragile and vulnerable, and shall remain so for as long as we are creatures.’
      • ‘The artificial ventilation of the lungs can damage the fragile lungs of these severely premature babies.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Let's work together and show that scumbag that you are not weak and fragile.’
      • ‘Dad is in a home in Belfast, as he is very fragile, but still cheerful and asking when the dancing starts.’
      • ‘His boss had given him a few days off from work to watch over his ailing daughter and fragile wife.’
      • ‘At least that way she could go and buy some powdered milk for her stick-thin fragile children.’
      • ‘I wouldn't say he was ill at the time we saw him, but he certainly was fragile and weak.’
      • ‘It was a slightly distasteful thing to watch, this video diary of a fragile man in need of help.’
      • ‘He and his wife are fragile, physically unprepossessing and teary-eyed from the outset.’
      • ‘The true owner of the institution is his fragile wife, Christina, who is also a cardiac patient.’
      • ‘Carting him around my district must have damaged his already fragile body somehow!’
      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