fragile, brittle, frail

fragile, brittle, frail
These words are interchangeable in their meaning of "weak" and "delicate," but they do have distinct uses. Fragile is the opposite of sturdy and suggests that something must be handled carefully to avoid breakage or damage: "This beautiful china is fragile." Brittle also refers to something that snaps or breaks into pieces but is usually applied to objects that have a hard surface or finish: "This material is as brittle as glass." Frail applies particularly to persons, rather than things, and usually refers to such matters as health, mental qualities, and temperament: "After a wasting illness, his body seemed more frail than ever." "His bold hopes for the future have a frail foundation." Bric-a-brac is fragile, some conversation is brittle, and an invalid is frail.

Dictionary of problem words and expressions. . 1975.

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  • brittle — See fragile. See fragile, brittle, frail …   Dictionary of problem words and expressions

  • frail — See fragile, brittle, frail …   Dictionary of problem words and expressions

  • fragile — See fragile, brittle, frail …   Dictionary of problem words and expressions

  • Fragile — Frag ile, a. [L. fragilis, from frangere to break; cf. F. fragile. See {Break}, v. t., and cf. {Frail}, a.] Easily broken; brittle; frail; delicate; easily destroyed. [1913 Webster] The state of ivy is tough, and not fragile. Bacon. Syn: Brittle; …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • fragile — fragilely, adv. fragility /freuh jil i tee/, fragileness, n. /fraj euhl/; Brit. /fraj uyl/, adj. 1. easily broken, shattered, or damaged; delicate; brittle; frail: a fragile ceramic container; a very fragile alliance. 2. vulnerably delicate, as… …   Universalium

  • frail — I (New American Roget s College Thesaurus) adj. fragile, brittle, delicate; weak, infirm, weak willed. See brittleness, weakness. II (Roget s IV) modif. Syn. fragile, delicate, infirm, slight; see dainty 1 , fragile , sick , weak 1 . See Synonym… …   English dictionary for students

  • fragile — /ˈfrædʒaɪl / (say frajuyl), Originally US / dʒəl/ (say juhl) adjective easily broken, shattered, or damaged; delicate; brittle; frail: fragile porcelain; a fragile ceasefire. {Latin fragilis} –fragilely, adverb –fragility /frəˈdʒɪləti/ (say fruh… …  

  • frail — adj 1. fragile, brittle, perishable. See fragile(def.1). 2. delicate, ailing, unwell, infirm, unsound, sickly; thin, slender, thin as six o clock, thin as a shadow, slender as a reed or rail; slight, puny, wispy, ethereal, unsubstantial, shadowy …   A Note on the Style of the synonym finder

  • fragile — 1 Fragile, frangible, brittle, crisp, short, friable mean easily broken. They are, however, not often interchangeable. Fragile (see also WEAK) is applicable to whatever must be handled or treated carefully lest it be broken {a fragile antique… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • fragile — [fraj′əl; ] chiefly Brit & Cdn [, fraj′īl] adj. [< OFr < L fragilis < frangere, BREAK] 1. easily broken, damaged, or destroyed 2. physically weak; frail; delicate 3. tenuous; flimsy [a fragile hope] fragility [frə jil′ə tē] n …   English World dictionary

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