May 31, 2013
brittle (adjective)
\BRIT-ul\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: easily broken, cracked, or snapped
How do you use it?
Night's brittle song, silver-thin Shatters into a billion fragments Of quiet shadows At the blaring jazz Of a morning sun. (Frank Marshall Davis, "Four Glimpses of Night")
Are you a word wiz?

Which of the following do you think means about the same thing as "brittle"?

Was choosing C as the right answer a snap? There are several words you can use to describe things that break easily. "Crisp" is used to imply a firmness and brittleness desirable especially in some foods, such as "crisp lettuce." "Brittle" is best used to describe use something that is both hard and lacks elasticity or flexibility or toughness, as in "brittle bones." "Fragile" best describes an extreme delicacy of material or construction and need for careful handling, as in "a fragile antique lamp." And the last one in this breakable bunch is "frangible," which implies susceptibility to being broken without implying weakness or delicacy, as "frangible stone used for paving."
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