Frailty, thy name is woman


      • criticize someone's behavior
        To express disapproval or disdain towards a woman's perceived weakness or flaws, often in a condescending or sexist manner

      • question someone's character
        To cast doubt on a woman's integrity or strength of character, implying that she is not to be trusted or is easily influenced

      • generalize about women
        To make a sweeping statement about women in general, often implying that they are all fragile or inferior in some way

    Examples of Frailty, thy name is woman

    • Despite her intellect and success in her career, Sarah often found herself struggling with simple tasks due to her fragile health. Her colleagues jokingly remarked, "Frailty, thy name is Sarah" as they noticed her delicate demeanor.

      This idiom, "Frailty, thy name is woman" originally comes from Shakespeare's play "All's Well that Ends Well". It implies that women, in general, are more fragile and vulnerable than men due to their delicate nature. However, in this example, it is used metaphorically to describe Sarah's physical weakness, regardless of her gender. The phrase is meant to suggest that Sarah's frailty is a defining characteristic of her, much like how it might have been seen as an inherent trait for women in Shakespeare's time.

    • Carol's sweet and gentle personality made her seem like a fragile flower, prone to wilting at the slightest touch. Her friend said, "Frailty, thy name is Carol," in jest, as they saw how easily she could be hurt by criticism or harsh words.

      Here, the idiom is used to describe Carol's sensitivity and vulnerability. It highlights how her gentle nature might make her appear delicate and fragile to others, much like how the idiom has been historically associated with women. However, the idiom's use in this example goes beyond gender, as it is being applied to anyone whose sensitive nature might make them seem vulnerable in certain situations.

    • As Anne's business faced financial troubles, her husband suggested that they hire a consultant to help them through the rough patch. Anne balked at the idea, stating, "Frailty, thy name is Anne" as she begged him to trust her abilities instead.

      In this example, the idiom is used to highlight Anne's own self-doubt and insecurity. By using the idiom in this instance, Anne is acknowledging that she feels vulnerable and fragile in the face of adversity, even though she is a strong and capable woman. The idiom serves as a powerful reminder that everyone, regardless of gender, can experience moments of weakness and fragility, especially in difficult situations.

    • After a series of unfortunate events left Sarah feeling defeated and shattered, her friend Rachel rallied behind her, her voice ringing out, "Frailty, thy name is not Sarah!" as she urged her to keep fighting.

      In this final example, the idiom is used in a more empowering way. Rachel's use of the idiom serves as a rallying cry for Sarah, challenging her to defy the stereotype of women as fragile and vulnerable. The idiom is being used to encourage Sarah to be strong and resilient, even in the face of adversity. It highlights the power of language and how the same phrases can be used in different ways to convey different meanings, depending on the context and intent of the speaker.

    • Sophia's delicate frame and fragile health often left her feeling helpless and vulnerable, echoing the age-old idiom "Frailty, thy name is woman."

      This example illustrates how the idiom "Frailty, thy name is woman" can be used in a descriptive context, highlighting the perceived weakness or vulnerability of women, particularly in regard to physical health. The use of the phrase "Frailty, thy name is woman" adds a layer of poetic language and literary allusion to the sentence, underscoring Sophia's fragility and emphasizing the significance of her condition.

    • Sara's emotional instability and volatility undermined her relationships and personal growth, epitomizing the timeless insight "Frailty, thy name is woman."

      In this example, the idiom "Frailty, thy name is woman" is applied to emotional and mental frailty, portraying the perception that women are more prone to emotional instability and fragility than men. The use of the idiom again reinforces the literary and poetic quality of the sentence, adding depth and emotional resonance.

    • Despite her fierce intellect and boundless ambition, Victoria's vulnerability and susceptibility to criticism often left her doubting her own worth, embodying the proverbial "Frailty, thy name is woman."

      This example shows the versatility of the idiom, as applied to a successful and accomplished woman. Here, the idiom highlights the difficulty that women, even elite and successful women, sometimes have in confronting their own weaknesses or vulnerabilities. By using the idiom, the speaker emphasizes Victoria's internal struggles, underscoring the complexity of women's experiences in society.

    • Theresa's menstrual cycle frequently disrupted her daily routine and left her feeling lethargic and irritable, a classic illustration of the Aristotelian concept "Frailty, thy name is woman."

      This final example demonstrates how the idiom can be used to describe a physiological condition, emphasizing the traditional view of women's bodies as frail and fragile. By utilizing Aristotelian language, the speaker reinforces the historical and cultural weight of the idiom, connecting it to a long-standing tradition of philosophical and literary thought.


    The idiom "frailty, thy name is woman" is commonly used to criticize or belittle women, implying that they are weak, unreliable, or inferior. It can be seen as a reflection of sexist attitudes and stereotypes towards women, perpetuating the idea that they are inferior to men.

    This idiom is often used in a derogatory manner, with the intention of discouraging or criticizing women's behavior or character. It can also be used to make sweeping generalizations about women, reinforcing harmful stereotypes and perpetuating gender inequality.

    Origin of "Frailty, thy name is woman"

    The phrase "frailty, thy name is woman" is a famous quote from William Shakespeare's play Hamlet, spoken by the character Hamlet in Act 1, Scene 2. In this scene, Hamlet is expressing his disappointment and frustration with his mother's quick remarriage after his father's death. He uses this phrase to criticize his mother's perceived weakness and lack of loyalty.

    The use of the word "frailty" in this context refers to a woman's perceived fragility or vulnerability. During Shakespeare's time, women were often viewed as inferior to men and were expected to be submissive and obedient. This quote reflects these societal attitudes towards women and reinforces the idea that they are weak and easily influenced.

    Overall, the origin of this idiom can be traced back to the patriarchal society of Shakespeare's time, where women were often viewed as inferior and were subject to criticism and belittlement. However, its continued use in modern times highlights the need for gender equality and the importance of challenging harmful stereotypes and attitudes towards women.