I. adjective (brittler; brittlest) Etymology: Middle English britil; akin to Old English brēotan to break, Old Norse brjōta Date: 14th century 1. a. easily broken, cracked, or snapped <
brittle clay
brittle glass
b. easily disrupted, overthrown, or damaged ; frail <
a brittle friendship
2. a. perishable, mortal b. transitory, evanescent 3. easily hurt or offended ; sensitive <
a brittle personality
4. sharp <
the brittle staccato of snare drums
5. lacking warmth, depth, or generosity of spirit ; cold <
a brittle selfish person
6. affected with or being a form of type 1 diabetes characterized by large and unpredictable fluctuations in blood glucose level Synonyms: see fragilebrittlely adverbbrittleness noun II. noun Date: 1913 a candy made with caramelized sugar and nuts spread in thin sheets <
peanut brittle

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • brittle — [brit′ l] adj. [ME britel < OE breotan, to break to pieces; akin to ON brjota < IE * bhreu < base * bher , to cut with a sharp point] 1. easily broken or shattered because hard and inflexible 2. having a sharp, hard quality [brittle… …   English World dictionary

  • Brittle — Brit tle, a. [OE. britel, brutel, AS. bryttian to dispense, fr. bre[ o]tan to break; akin to Icel. brytja, Sw. bryta, Dan. bryde. Cf. {Brickle}.] Easily broken; apt to break; fragile; not tough or tenacious. [1913 Webster] Farewell, thou pretty,… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • brittle — M.E. britel, perhaps from an unrecorded O.E. adj. *brytel, related to brytan to crush, pound, to break to pieces, from P.Gmc. stem *brutila brittle, from *breutan to break up (Cf. O.N. brjota to break, O.H.G. brodi fragile ), and related to… …   Etymology dictionary

  • brittle — [adj1] fragile breakable, crisp, crumbling, crumbly, delicate, frail, frangible, friable, inelastic, shatterable, shivery, vitreous, weak; concepts 488,606 Ant. durable, flexible, moveable, resilient, supple brittle [adj2] tense curt, edgy,… …   New thesaurus

  • brittle — ► ADJECTIVE 1) hard but liable to break or shatter easily. 2) hard or superficial in a way that masks nervousness or instability. ► NOUN ▪ a brittle sweet made from nuts and set melted sugar. DERIVATIVES brittleness noun. ORIGIN related to an Old …   English terms dictionary

  • brittle — index nonsubstantial (not sturdy) Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • brittle — crisp, *fragile, frangible, short, friable Analogous words: *hardened, indurated Antonyms: supple Contrasted words: *elastic, resilient, springy, flexible: tough, tenacious, *strong, stout …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • brittle — [[t]brɪ̱t(ə)l[/t]] 1) ADJ GRADED An object or substance that is brittle is hard but easily broken. Pine is brittle and breaks. ...the dry, brittle ends of the hair. 2) ADJ GRADED If you describe a situation, relationship, or someone s mood as… …   English dictionary

  • brittle — UK [ˈbrɪt(ə)l] / US adjective Word forms brittle : adjective brittle comparative brittler superlative brittlest 1) a) a brittle substance or object is hard and can easily break into pieces Don t pack fragile or brittle objects in your suitcase.… …   English dictionary

  • brittle — brit|tle [ brıtl ] adjective 1. ) a brittle substance or object is hard and can easily break into pieces: Don t pack fragile or brittle objects in your suitcase. a ) a brittle relationship or situation is not very strong and could easily be… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English