Share this entry

fragile Syllabification: frag·ile
Pronunciation: /ˈfrajəl/

Definition of fragile in English:


1(Of an object) easily broken or damaged.
Example sentences
  • Tourists also damage the fragile ecosystem by dumping plastic waste and driving over the grasslands.
  • 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.
  • 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.
breakable, easily broken;
delicate, dainty, fine, flimsy;
formal frangible
1.1Flimsy or insubstantial; easily destroyed: you have a fragile grip on reality
More example sentences
  • Separatist conflicts are threatening to destroy the country's fragile democracy.
  • Unfortunately, Peter is also quickly losing his already fragile grip on reality.
  • The situation worsens, and threatens the fragile peace and stability of an entire region.
tenuous, shaky, insecure, unreliable, vulnerable, flimsy
1.2(Of a person) not strong or sturdy; delicate and vulnerable.
Example sentences
  • 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.
  • In this case the most frail and fragile patients, newborns, are the ones who are being affected.
weak, delicate, frail, debilitated;
ill, unwell, ailing, poorly, sickly, infirm, enfeebled


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: /ˈfrajə(l)lē/
Example sentences
  • They treat them more and more fragilely until pretty soon the older person feels that they are totally dependent on this individual.
  • Startling, the first time, how fragilely they are attached.
  • The economies need to be robust, not fragilely dependent on commodities - again, politics and the economy dance in tandem.

Words that rhyme with fragile


Definition of fragile in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day whippersnapper
Pronunciation: ˈwɪpəsnapə
a young, inexperienced person considered presumptuous or overconfident...