- 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.
(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.