Pronunciation Verb

fray (frays, present participle fraying; past and past participle frayed)

  1. (ambitransitive) To (cause 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.
  2. (intransitive, figuratively) To cause exhaustion, wear out (a person's mental strength).
    The hectic day ended in frayed nerves. (Metaphorical use; nerves are visualised as strings)
  3. (transitive, archaic) frighten; alarm
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, […] (King James Version), imprinted at London: By Robert Barker, […], OCLC 964384981 ↗, Jeremiah 7:33 ↗:
      And the carcases of this people shall be meat for the fowls of the heaven, and for the beasts of the earth; and none shall fray them away.
    • 1662, Henry More, An Antidote Against Atheism, Book II, A Collection of Several Philosophical Writings of Dr. Henry More, p. 63:
      "Besides, all the wit and Philosophy in the world can never demonstrate, that the killing and slaughtering of a Beast is anymore then the striking of a Bush where a Bird's Nest is, where you fray away the Bird, and then seize upon the empty Nest."
    • What frays ye, that were wont to comfort me affrayed?
  4. (transitive) To bear the expense of; to defray.
    • The charge of my most curious and costly ingredients frayed, I shall acknowledge myself amply satisfied.
  5. (intransitive) To rub.
    • RQ
Related terms Translations
  • French: effilocher
  • German: ausfransen
  • Portuguese: desfiar
  • Russian: распуска́ться
  • Spanish: deshilacharse
Translations Translations
  • Spanish: costear

fray (plural frays)

  1. A fight or argument
    Though they did not know the reason for the dispute, they did not hesitate to leap into the fray.
    • c. 1591–1595, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Romeo and Ivliet”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act III, scene i]:
      Who began this bloody fray?
  2. (archaic) Fright.
Related terms Translations
Proper noun
  1. Surname

This text is extracted from the Wiktionary and it is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license | Terms and conditions | Privacy policy 0.061
Offline English dictionary