- Fray is defined as a noisy struggle or fight.
An example of a fray is a family argument.
- To fray is defined as when something becomes worn or unraveled, especially cloth.
An example of to fray is playing with the end of a sweater while nervous.
- To fray means to become irritated.
An example of to fray is drumming on the table in front of someone who dislikes that sound.
The frayed edge of a burlap sack.
Origin of frayMiddle English frai, aphetic ; from affrai, affray
Origin of frayME fraien
- to make or become worn, ragged, or raveled by rubbing
- to make or become weakened or strained
Origin of frayMiddle English fraien ; from Old French freier ; from Classical Latin fricare, to rub: see friction
- A fight; a brawl. See Synonyms at brawl.
- A heated dispute or intensely competitive situation: “Minneapolis became the latest battleground in the fray over bio-engineering as hundreds of protesters took to the streets” (Todd Wilkinson).
- A military engagement; a battle.
transitive verbfrayed, fray·ing, frays Archaic
- To alarm; frighten.
- To drive away.
Origin of frayMiddle English frai, shortening of affrai; see affray.
verbfrayed, fray·ing, frays
- To strain; chafe: repeated noises that fray the nerves.
- To wear away (the edges of fabric, for example) by rubbing.
Origin of frayMiddle English fraien, to wear, bruise, from Old French fraier, to rub, from Latin fricāre.
From Middle English frai, aphetic variant of affray.
(third-person singular simple present frays, present participle fraying, simple past and past participle frayed)
- (intransitive) To unravel; used particularly for the edge of something made of cloth, or the end of a rope.
- The ribbon frayed at the cut end.
- (intransitive, figuratively) To cause exhaustion, wear out (a person's mental strength).
- The stressful day ended in frayed nerves. (Metaphorical use; nerves are visualised as strings)
- (archaic) frighten; alarm
- To bear the expense of; to defray.
- (intransitive) To rub.
From Middle English fraien, from Old French frayer, from Latin fricāre, present active infinitive of fricō.