Meaning of BRITTLE in English


brit ‧ tle /ˈbrɪtl/ BrE AmE adjective

[ Date: 1300-1400 ; Language: Old English ; Origin: gebryttan 'to break into pieces' ]

1 . hard but easily broken:

The branches were dry and brittle.

Joanna was diagnosed as having brittle bones.

2 . a situation, relationship, or feeling that is brittle is easily damaged or destroyed:

He spoke with the brittle confidence of someone who, underneath, was very worried.

3 . showing no warm feelings:

a brittle laugh

• • •


▪ fragile easily broken or damaged:

The documents are old and very fragile.


a fragile glass case


The seventeenth century wall hangings are extemely fragile.

▪ delicate easily damaged – used especially about things that are made from thin material and look attractive:

a delicate gold necklace


The plant has delicate blue flowers.


delicate fabrics

▪ brittle brittle hair, nails, bones etc have a hard surface, but they break easily, especially because they are not in good condition:

As you get older, your bones become more brittle.


a special shampoo for dry and brittle hair

▪ breakable breakable objects must be handled carefully because they will break easily:

Put breakable objects out of the reach of children.


breakable ornaments

▪ flimsy made of thin material that tears easily, or badly-made and likely to break easily:

a flimsy cotton shirt


a flimsy wooden table

▪ frail especially literary not strong and therefore easy to break, damage, or hurt:

The young trees are frail and need to be protected from the wind.


a frail little fishing boat


a frail old lady

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.