Word of the Day: Brittle


brit-tle / brĭt-l


1. easily broken or snapped; fragile

Man is harder than a stone and more brittle than an egg.

Bulgarian Proverb

2. lacking compassion or sensitivity; cold

“Now, my boy, times have changed,” Del Mar addressed him in cold, brittle tones.

From “Michael, Brother of Jerry” by Jack London, 1876 – 1916

3. irritable; rudely brusque

Bush gave a brittle reply, calling such remarks “disgusting, to be perfectly frank.”

Christopher Cooper, “Laura Bush Takes a Larger Role”, ‘The Wall Street Journal’, www.wsj.com/articles/SB113589800171734179, December 30, 2005

4. having a sharp quality

He heard the steps of Stepan Arkadyevitch, mistaking them for the tramp of the horses in the distance; he heard the brittle sound of the twigs on which he had trodden, taking this sound for the flying of a grouse.

From “Anna Karenina” by Leo Tolstoy, 1828 – 1910

5. fleeting; short lived; vanishing

Even in our best shape we are a brittle piece of mortality.

LeCrae, 1979 –


1. a sweet confection made of caramelized sugar and nuts, which is easily broken when cooled

Peanut brittle is a flavorful, old-fashioned candy that’s sweet and salty with a beautiful snappy texture (and a reputation for sticking to your teeth!).

“Peanut Brittle Recipe”, ‘Sugar Spun Run’, www.sugarspunrun.com/peanut-brittle-recipe, accessed November 8, 2023