EnglishEdit

EtymologyEdit

From Middle English frele, fraill, from Old French fraile, from Latin fragilis. Cognate to fraction, fracture, and doublet of fragile.

PronunciationEdit

  • IPA(key): /fɹeɪl/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -eɪl

AdjectiveEdit

frail (comparative frailer, superlative frailest)

  1. Easily broken physically; not firm or durable; liable to fail and perish
    • 1831, John James Audubon, Ornithological Biography: Volume 1, Blue-grey Fly-catcher
      Its nest is composed of the frailest materials, and is light and small in proportion to the size of the bird
  2. Weak; infirm.
    • 1993, John Banville, Ghosts:
      Frail smoke of morning in the air and a sort of muffled hum that is not sound but is not silence either.
    • 1922, Isaac Rosenberg, Dawn
      O as the soft and frail lights break upon your eyelids
  3. Mentally fragile.
  4. Liable to fall from virtue or be led into sin; not strong against temptation; weak in resolution; unchaste.

Derived termsEdit

Related termsEdit

TranslationsEdit

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

NounEdit

frail (plural frails)

  1. A basket made of rushes, used chiefly to hold figs and raisins.
  2. The quantity of fruit or other items contained in a frail.
  3. A rush for weaving baskets.
  4. (dated, slang) A girl.
    • 1931, Cab Calloway / Irving Mills, ‘Minnie the Moocher’:
      She was the roughest, toughest frail, but Minnie had a heart as big as a whale.
    • 1934, F[rancis] Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night: A Romance, New York, N.Y.: Charles Scribner’s Sons, OCLC 284462; republished as chapter X, in Malcolm Cowley, editor, Tender is the Night: A Romance [...] With the Author’s Final Revisions, New York, N.Y.: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1951, OCLC 849279868, book IV (Escape: 1925–1929), page 238:
      There were five people in the Quirinal bar after dinner, a high-class Italian frail who sat on a stool making persistent conversation against the bartender's bored: “Si … Si … Si,” a light, snobbish Egyptian who was lonely but chary of the woman, and the two Americans.
    • 1939, Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep, Penguin 2011, p. 148:
      ‘She's pickin' 'em tonight, right on the nose,’ he said. ‘That tall black-headed frail.’
    • 1941, Preston Sturges, Sullivan's Travels, published in Five Screenplays, →ISBN, page 77:
      Sullivan, the girl and the butler get to the ground. The girl wears a turtle-neck sweater, a cap slightly sideways, a torn coat, turned-up pants and sneakers.
      SULLIVAN Why don't you go back with the car... You look about as much like a boy as Mae West.
      THE GIRL All right, they'll think I'm your frail.

VerbEdit

frail (third-person singular simple present frails, present participle frailing, simple past and past participle frailed)

  1. To play a stringed instrument, usually a banjo, by picking with the back of a fingernail.

ReferencesEdit

AnagramsEdit