Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary


verb \ˈfrām\

Simple Definition of frame

  • : to put (something) inside an open structure that holds it : to put (something) in a frame

  • : to be around the edge of (something)

  • : to produce (something written or spoken) : to express (a question, answer, etc.) in words

Full Definition of frame


  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to construct by fitting and uniting the parts of the skeleton of (a structure)

  3. 2 a :  plan, contrive <framed a new method of achieving their purpose> b :  shape, construct c :  to give expression to :  formulate d :  to draw up (as a document)

  4. 3 a :  to devise falsely (as a criminal charge) b :  to contrive the evidence against (an innocent person) so that a verdict of guilty is assured c :  fix 7b

  5. 4 :  to fit or adjust especially to something or for an end :  arrange

  6. 5 obsolete :  produce

  7. 6 :  to enclose in a frame; also :  to enclose as if in a frame

  8. intransitive verb
  9. 1 archaic :  proceed, go

  10. 2 obsolete :  manage

fram·able or frame·able play \ˈfrā-mə-bəl\ adjective
fram·er noun

Examples of frame

  1. It was the first state to frame a written constitution.

  2. She framed her questions carefully.

  3. He took the time to frame a thoughtful reply.

  4. She claims that she was framed.

Origin of frame

Middle English, to benefit, construct, from Old English framian to benefit, make progress; akin to Old Norse fram forward, Old English fram from

First Known Use: 14th century




Simple Definition of frame

  • : the basic structure and shape of the body of a person or animal

  • : an arrangement of parts that support and form the basic shape of something

  • : an open structure that holds something (such as glass or a picture)

Full Definition of frame

  1. 1 a :  something composed of parts fitted together and united b :  the physical makeup of an animal and especially a human body :  physique, figure

  2. 2 a :  the underlying constructional system or structure that gives shape or strength (as to a building) b :  a frame dwelling

  3. 3 obsolete :  the act or manner of framing

  4. 4 a :  a machine built upon or within a framework <a spinning frame> b :  an open case or structure made for admitting, enclosing, or supporting something <a window frame> c (1) :  a part of a pair of glasses that holds one of the lenses (2) plural :  that part of a pair of glasses other than the lenses d :  a structural unit in an automobile chassis supported on the axles and supporting the rest of the chassis and the body

  5. 5 a :  an enclosing border b :  the matter or area enclosed in such a border: as (1) :  one of the squares in which scores for each round are recorded (as in bowling); also :  a round in bowling (2) :  an individual drawing in a comic strip usually enclosed by a bordering line (3) :  one picture of the series on a length of film (4) :  a complete image for display (as on a television set) c :  an inning in baseball d (1) :  framework 1a (2) :  context, frame of reference e :  an event that forms the background for the action of a novel or play

  6. 6 :  frame-up

Examples of frame

  1. the frame of a house

  2. I need new frames for my glasses.

Illustration of frame

14th Century

First Known Use of frame

14th century

Other Architecture Terms




Definition of frame

  1. :  having a wood frame <frame houses>


First Known Use of frame


Other Building Terms

Medical Dictionary


noun \ˈfrām\

Medical Definition of frame

  1. 1:  the physical makeup of an animal and especially a human body :  physique, figure

  2. 2a:  a part of a pair of glasses that holds one of the lensesbframes pl :  that part of a pair of glasses other than the lenses

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up frame? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


February 9, 2016

marked by high spirits and laughter

Get Word of the Day daily email!


Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!


Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?

spindrift duvet kittly-benders pince-nez
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.