Definition of fragile in English:



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

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