When can / should we use the word frangible?

Please give some examples of its use in a sentence.

I know that it is a very specific word, But I would like to know where this word appears: biology, physics, ...

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    @FumbleFingers This isn't a question about meaning but about appropriate use. Nov 8, 2015 at 16:19
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    I know that it is a very specific word, But I would like to know where this word appears: biology, physics, ...?
    – Anna J.
    Nov 8, 2015 at 16:26
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    @StoneyB: I agree your own answer that there are precious few "valid" contexts apart from frangible ammo/bullets/stone. And to be honest I wouldn't have used that dictionary example myself, 'cos I tend to think of it as implying intended to be broken [into small pieces], or suitable for being [deliberately] broken. So regardless of whether it's strictly "correct" or not, I'm okay with frangible soil which would more often be friable. Nov 8, 2015 at 16:32
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    I am going to appeal on Meta and in Chat for this question to be reopened. Nov 8, 2015 at 16:35
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    @User1 - That's interesting, but it doesn't answer the O.P.'s question. The entry says: "Common biscuits or crackers are examples of frangible materials, while fresh bread .. is not frangible." That may be so, but I would never tell my waitress: "Can I get some different crackers for my soup? These are not frangible enough." (Incidentally, there's been a bit of debate going on about this question. If you left the link just to be helpful, then thanks for being helpful. However, if you left the link thinking that it would prove this is general reference, then I'd ask folks to reconsider.)
    – J.R.
    Nov 9, 2015 at 15:11

1 Answer 1


Frangible is a very fancy replacement for "breakable". Regardless of the examples you find in dictionaries, the word is virtually unused outside of very technical contexts such as engineering and product specifications. The first hundred hits returned on a Google search on the word yielded:

19 dictionary definitions
26 uses in technical specifications or rules involving "breakaway" safety devices
2 uses as screen names
2 uses for names of videogame entitites

All the rest were references to "frangible ammunition", bullets designed to break apart rather than deforming or ricocheting.

Unless you are an engineer or an avid gun-user, I think you can dismiss this word from your own use. In most ordinary contexts "breakable" will be a more natural term.

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    And the OP couldn't do a Google search or look in Wikipedia? These are as basic as dictionaries.
    – user20792
    Nov 8, 2015 at 22:46
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    ^The close rationale in a nutshell. Nov 8, 2015 at 23:29
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    @User1, Nihilist The OP's problem is not about meaning it's about usage. When is it appropriate to use? That information is not given in a dictionary. Nov 9, 2015 at 12:08
  • +1 I think that some commenters and answerers on ELU who like to show off their vocab use it a bit! (maybe where this question came from?) Nov 9, 2015 at 12:09
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    @Araucaria - Ah, I forgot about the comments. Nice catch.
    – J.R.
    Nov 9, 2015 at 18:45

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