Definition of frail in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈfrā(ə)l/


1(Of a person) weak and delicate: a frail voice she looked frail and vulnerable
More example sentences
  • During the day the bus takes vulnerable and frail people on shopping trips and outings.
  • We are bombarded with images of elderly people being frail and sickly.
  • He was desperately frail, too weak to move his limbs but still strong enough to let out that cry which tears at every human heart.
weak, delicate, feeble, enfeebled, debilitated;
infirm, ill, ailing, unwell, sickly, poorly, in poor health
1.1Easily damaged or broken; fragile or insubstantial: the balcony is frail the frail Russian economy
More example sentences
  • Reviewers and critics frequently refuse to be honest about Australian movies because they believe this will damage the frail home industry.
  • With the numerous difficulties the country is experiencing due to the frail economy, Zambia has depended on such close allies to surmount her difficulties.
  • Markets will continue to wait for war and, in the process, further slow down an already frail economy.
fragile, breakable, easily damaged, delicate, flimsy, insubstantial, unsteady, unstable, rickety
formal frangible
1.2Weak in character or morals.
Example sentences
  • If you use it then you will likely to be perceived as brave or the opposite of coward or frail.
  • That's what public relations propaganda is all about - conning frail, vain humans.
  • People are frail and make stupid mistakes and one kiss in a bar is not the end of the world, especially when she feels so bad about it.



Pronunciation: /ˈfrā(l)lē/
Example sentences
  • That was the question wavering frailly on my mind as I slid down the back of the wall and broke out in uncontrollable sobs.
  • Occasionally I came upon a precocious spray of Dutchman's breeches, or wild bleedingheart, hung frailly with delicately transparent shell-like blossoms.
  • Throughout his triumphs and scandals, and everything in between, he comes across as completely genuine and frailly human.


Example sentences
  • To those who met him from at least the 1960s onward, he already appeared a frail individual, but his frailness belied his determination and toughness.
  • Amara studied the woman, her ancient yet wise face, the frailness of her limbs contradicting the underlying strength embedded in them.
  • Taking a deep breath, he began, the frailness of his voice alarming him.


Middle English: from Old French fraile, from Latin fragilis (see fragile).

  • fraction from Late Middle English:

    Medieval mathematicians called numbers that were not whole numbers fractions. The name came from Latin frangere ‘to break’, also the root of fracture, fragile, and fragment (all LME), and ultimately of frail (Middle English). People who struggled to learn about fractions may not be surprised to learn that the word is also linked to fractious (early 18th century), or ‘bad-tempered’.

Words that rhyme with frail

ail, ale, assail, avail, bail, bale, bewail, brail, Braille, chain mail, countervail, curtail, dale, downscale, drail, dwale, entail, exhale, fail, faille, flail, Gael, Gail, gale, Grail, grisaille, hail, hale, impale, jail, kale, mail, male, webmail, nonpareil, outsail, pail, pale, quail, rail, sail, sale, sangrail, scale, shale, snail, stale, swale, tail, tale, they'll, trail, upscale, vail, vale, veil, surveil, wail, wale, whale, Yale

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: frail

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.