- Brittle is defined as something hard but prone to cracking or breaking, or refers to an unpleasant and sharp laugh or to a person or behavior that appears hostile but is often driven by nerves.
- A person with osteoporosis is an example of someone who might have brittle bones.
- A high pitched, sharp laugh is an example of a brittle laugh.
- A person with a rigid and mean personality who is really just nervous on the inside is an example of someone who is brittle.
- easily broken or shattered because hard and inflexible
- having a sharp, hard quality: brittle tones
- stiff and unbending in manner; lacking warmth
Origin of brittleMiddle English britel ; from Old English breotan, to break to pieces; akin to Old Norse brjota ; from Indo-European an unverified form bhreu- ; from base an unverified form bher-, to cut with a sharp point
a brittle, crunchy candy with nuts in it: peanut brittle
- a. Likely to break, snap, or crack, as when subjected to pressure: brittle bones.b. Easily damaged or disrupted; fragile: a brittle friendship. See Synonyms at fragile.
- a. Difficult to deal with; snappish: a brittle disposition.b. Lacking warmth of feeling; cold: a reputation for being brittle and aloof.
- Brilliantly sharp, as in percussive sound.
- a. Perishable.b. Fleeting; transitory.
A confection of caramelized sugar to which nuts are added: walnut brittle.
Origin of brittleMiddle English britel, probably from Old English *brytel, from bryttian, to shatter.
(comparative brittler or more brittle, superlative brittlest or most brittle)
- Inflexible, liable to break or snap easily under stress or pressure.
- Cast iron is much more brittle than forged iron.
- A diamond is hard but brittle.
- Not physically tough or tenacious; apt to break or crumble when bending.
- (archaeology) Said of rocks and minerals with a conchoidal fracture; capable of being knapped or flaked.
- Emotionally fragile, easily offended.
- What a brittle personality! A little misunderstanding and he's an emotional wreck.
- (informal, proscribed) Diabetes that is characterized by dramatic swings in blood sugar level.
(countable and uncountable, plural brittles)