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frangible (FRAN-juh-buhl) adjective

Readily broken; breakable.

[From Middle English, from Old French, from Medieval Latin frangibilis, from Latin frangere (to break). The same Latin root is responsible for breaking in a number of other words, such as chamfer, defray, fraction, refract, infringe, and fracture.]

The word "frangible" has three generations of kangaroos: its joey "fragile" which in turn has its own little one "frail". Can you think of other words like that?

"Wax discs are frangible: a lost flake is an irretrievable snippet of sonic memory."
Alan Burdick, Now Hear This, Harper's Magazine (New York), Jul 2001.

"I can never read reviews of my own movies. I'm terrified to find out what the barbaric world thinks of my trembly filmic dreams and, by extension, my overly frangible soul."
Guy Maddin, Very Lush and Full of Ostriches, The Village Voice (New York), Aug 7, 2001.

This week's theme: kangaroo words, words that have a joey (a smaller word with a similar sense) within them.

Check out the story in today's New York Times: A Word of the Day Keeps Banality at Bay.


You can never solve a problem on the level on which it was created. -Albert Einstein, physicist, Nobel laureate (1879-1955)

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