frailer; frailest; frails; frailly

Something that is delicate and fragile can be described as frail. Grandma's favorite vase is probably too frail to use for football practice; some of us have learned that the hard way.

Frail can also be used to describe a person's physical condition: "When I broke my grandmother's vase, she yelled in a voice so loud that it was hard to believe it was coming from her small, frail frame." Another way to use frail is in reference to a person's emotional state. As the poet Sylvia Plath astutely observed, "How frail the human heart must be."

Definitions of frail
  1. adjective
    physically weak
    “an invalid's frail body”
    exquisitely fine and subtle and pleasing; susceptible to injury
    debile, decrepit, feeble, infirm, rickety, sapless, weak, weakly
    lacking bodily or muscular strength or vitality
    having a bone structure that is light with respect to the surrounding flesh
    wanting in physical strength
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    sturdy and strong in form, constitution, or construction
    sturdy and strong in constitution or construction; enduring
    having or indicating good health in body or mind; free from infirmity or disease
    beefy, buirdly, burly, husky, strapping
    muscular and heavily built
    having a bone structure that is massive in contrast with the surrounding flesh
    big-chested, chesty
    marked by a large or well-developed chest
    big-shouldered, broad-shouldered, square-shouldered
    having broad shoulders
    cast-iron, iron
    extremely robust
    hardy, stalwart, stout, sturdy
    having rugged physical strength; inured to fatigue or hardships
    able to survive under unfavorable weather conditions
    (of plants) requiring protection from frost
    having massive arms
    broad and solidly built
    strong and active physically or mentally
    having strength or power greater than average or expected
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  2. adjective
    easily broken or damaged or destroyed
    “a frail craft”
    synonyms: delicate, fragile
    capable of being broken or damaged
  3. adjective
    wanting in moral strength, courage, or will; having the attributes of man as opposed to e.g. divine beings
    frail humanity”
    synonyms: fallible, imperfect, weak
    having human form or attributes as opposed to those of animals or divine beings
  4. noun
    a basket for holding dried fruit (especially raisins or figs)
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    type of:
    basket, handbasket
    a container that is usually woven and has handles
  5. noun
    the weight of a frail (basket) full of raisins or figs; between 50 and 75 pounds
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    type of:
    weight, weight unit
    a unit used to measure weight
DISCLAIMER: These example sentences appear in various news sources and books to reflect the usage of the word ‘frail'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of or its editors. Send us feedback
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