What does brittle mean?

Definitions for brittle
ˈbrɪt lbrit·tle

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word brittle.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. brittle, toffee, toffyadjective

    caramelized sugar cooled in thin sheets

  2. brittle, brickle, bricklyadjective

    having little elasticity; hence easily cracked or fractured or snapped

    "brittle bones"; "glass is brittle"; "`brickle' and `brickly' are dialectal"

  3. brittleadjective

    lacking warmth and generosity of spirit

    "a brittle and calculating woman"

  4. brittle, unannealedadjective

    (of metal or glass) not annealed and consequently easily cracked or fractured


  1. brittlenoun

    (Mass Noun) A confection of caramelized sugar and nuts.

  2. brittlenoun

    (Mass Noun) Anything resembling this confection, such as flapjack, a cereal bar, etc.

  3. brittleadjective

    Inflexible, liable to break or snap easily under stress or pressure.

  4. brittleadjective

    Not physically tough or tenacious; apt to break or crumble when bending.

  5. brittleadjective

    Said of rocks and minerals with a conchoidal fracture; capable of being knapped or flaked.

  6. brittleadjective

    Emotionally fragile, easily offended.

  7. brittleadjective

    Diabetes that is characterized by dramatic swings in blood sugar level.

  8. Etymology: From britel, brutel, brotel, from *, equivalent to. More at brit.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. BRITTLEadjective

    Fragile; apt to break; not tough.

    Etymology: brittan, Saxon.

    The wood of vines is very durable; though no tree hath the twigs, while they are green, so brittle, yet the wood dried is extremely tough. Francis Bacon, Natural Hist. №. 622.

    From earth all came, to earth must all return,
    Frail as the cord, and brittle as the urn. Matthew Prior.

    Of airy pomp, and fleeting joys,
    What does the busy world conclude at best,
    But brittle goods, that break like glass? George Granville.

    If the stone is brittle, it will often crumble, and pass in the form of gravel. John Arbuthnot, on Diet.


  1. brittle

    A material is brittle if, when subjected to stress, it fractures with little elastic deformation and without significant plastic deformation. Brittle materials absorb relatively little energy prior to fracture, even those of high strength. Breaking is often accompanied by a sharp snapping sound.When used in materials science, it is generally applied to materials that fail when there is little or no plastic deformation before failure. One proof is to match the broken halves, which should fit exactly since no plastic deformation has occurred.


  1. brittle

    Brittle refers to a material or substance that is hard, but liable to break or shatter easily when subjected to pressure, force, or stress. It lacks the flexibility or elasticity to deform or bend without cracking or breaking.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Brittleadjective

    easily broken; apt to break; fragile; not tough or tenacious

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Brittle

    brit′l, adj. apt to break: easily broken: frail.—ns. Britt′leness; Britt′le-stars, or Sand-stars, one of the classes of Echinodermata, including forms not far removed from starfishes. [A.S. bréotan, to break.]

The New Hacker's Dictionary

  1. brittle

    Said of software that is functional but easily broken by changes in operating environment or configuration, or by any minor tweak to the software itself. Also, any system that responds inappropriately and disastrously to abnormal but expected external stimuli; e.g., a file system that is usually totally scrambled by a power failure is said to be brittle. This term is often used to describe the results of a research effort that were never intended to be robust, but it can be applied to commercial software, which (due to closed-source development) displays the quality far more often than it ought to. Oppose robust.

Surnames Frequency by Census Records


    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Brittle is ranked #38532 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Brittle surname appeared 574 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 0 would have the surname Brittle.

    76.4% or 439 total occurrences were White.
    18.1% or 104 total occurrences were Black.
    1.7% or 10 total occurrences were American Indian or Alaskan Native.
    1.5% or 9 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.

Anagrams for brittle »

  1. blitter

  2. triblet

How to pronounce brittle?

How to say brittle in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of brittle in Chaldean Numerology is: 3

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of brittle in Pythagorean Numerology is: 5

Examples of brittle in a Sentence

  1. Esther Perel:

    If a man sees a woman as brittle, he may love her with a sense of extra burden.

  2. Raj Dasgupta:

    You'd have to be pretty brittle and pretty sick if a blanket's going to stop your breathing.

  3. Tom Robbins:

    Meditation... disolves the mind. It erases itself. Throws the ego out on its big brittle ass.

  4. Paul Byrne:

    Think of like a Milky Way bar or a Mars bar, its where the chocolate and caramel touch, that depth, you can treat that as the thickness of the brittle, rigid layer.

  5. Edi Rama:

    Peace is brittle and a big burden on our shoulders so we need ... concrete help from the European Union and the European Commission, we can get more support together than on our own, to maximize the gains for our peoples.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for brittle

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"brittle." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 24 May 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/brittle>.

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    a hypothetical description of a complex entity or process
    A rapture
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