In my dictionary, fragile can be pronounced as frædʒaɪl or ˋfrædʒəl. I am wondering which one is correct. Or it's regional? How is it pronounced by native speakers?

2 Answers 2


It's at least partly regional.

I speak British English, and prnounce "fragile" and "missile" with /aɪl/, as is the norm in BrE. The /əl/ pronunciation is American, as far as I know.

  • Unless, of course, it's of the supercali sort. :P
    – Lawrence
    Jan 1, 2018 at 13:45
  • 1
    @Lawrence, in nonce words like "fragilism", "fragilistic", or "fragilation", most BrE speakers would naturally pronounce it with /dʒɪl/ (not /dʒəl/) because of trisyllabic laxing. They may be uncertain whether or not to double the 'l' in writing the last one, though!
    – Colin Fine
    Jan 2, 2018 at 10:07
  • 1
    Well played. :)
    – Lawrence
    Jan 2, 2018 at 10:13

Dictionaries, at least for English, are descriptive, not prescriptive - that is, they tell you generally what is, rather than what should be (although there is often a lag between a change in usage or pronunciation and its incorporation into the next edition/update). Where multiple meanings, usages, or pronunciations are given, they should all be assumed to be 'correct', subject to annotations showing limitations (e.g., vulg for vulgar usage, or chiefly British, etc.).

For your specific question (fragile), I generally hear it in the NYC area as /ˋfrædʒəl/, but have heard other pronunciations in other parts of the US.

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