Meaning of BRITTLE in English


I. ˈbrid. ə l, -it ə l adjective

Etymology: Middle English britil; akin to Old English brēotan to break, Old High German brōdi frail, Old Norse brjōta to break, Sanskrit bhrūṇa embryo



(1) : easily broken, cracked, or snapped : apt to break or snap easily especially under very slight bending or deformation

brittle clay

brittle glass

as brittle as an eggshell

(2) of a metal or alloy : having very low malleability or ductility

b. : easily disrupted, overthrown, damaged, or disintegrated : frail

a brittle promise

brittle honor — Shakespeare

a brittle marriage

c. : requiring careful handling : difficult

a brittle personality

d. : sharp , brilliant , tense

the light, brittle tones of an orchestra of xylophones — Asia & the Americas

the brittle staccato of the drums — H.A.Sinclair

could hardly understand what was said to him, so brittle and sharp was the sound — Pearl Buck


a. : perishable , mortal

b. : transitory , evanescent

3. : lacking warmth, depth, or generosity of spirit : cold , calculating

she was harder, more brittle , than Effie ever was — Rex Ingamells

a brittle and selfish woman who calculates her ends coldly and by sheer poise and self-possession usually gets her way — Chad Walsh

the brittle , cynical, beautiful legends of Ovid — Gilbert Highet

• brit·tle·ly or brit·tly -d. ə l(l)ē, -t ə l-, -)i; -tlē, -tli adverb

• brit·tle·ness -id. ə lnə̇s, -it ə l- noun -es

II. noun

( -s )

: candy made by boiling sugar to the point of caramelization, adding nuts, and cooling in thin sheets

III. adjective

: affected with or being a form of type 1 diabetes characterized by large and unpredictable fluctuations in blood glucose level

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.