brittle

Something brittle is easily broken. Do you have brittle bones? Then no football or rugby for you.

Besides meaning easily fractured and emotionally cold, brittle is also a type of candy made of cooled sugar. To make peanut brittle, bake the ingredients on a cookie sheet then let the brittle cool into sheets which you break into pieces (and then eat — wreaking havoc with your braces). It's ok to use the adjective brittle freely to describe lots of things that will break easily — such as a heart, a theory, or a poorly equipped army.

Definitions of brittle
  1. adjective
    having little elasticity; hence easily cracked or fractured or snapped
    brittle bones”
    “glass is brittle
    synonyms: brickle, brickly
    breakable
    capable of being broken or damaged
  2. adjective
    (of metal or glass) not annealed and consequently easily cracked or fractured
    synonyms: unannealed
    unhardened, untempered
    not brought to a proper consistency or hardness
  3. noun
    caramelized sugar cooled in thin sheets
    synonyms: toffee, toffy
    see moresee less
    types:
    peanut brittle
    brittle containing peanuts
    type of:
    candy, confect
    a rich sweet made of flavored sugar and often combined with fruit or nuts
  4. adjective
    lacking warmth and generosity of spirit
    “a brittle and calculating woman”
    Synonyms:
    coldhearted
    lacking in sympathy or feeling
Word Family
EDITOR’S CHOICE

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.

SAT/PSAT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

TOEFL

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

ACT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 700+
  • Duration: 10 weeks
  • Time: 1 hour / week