: an obstacle of pointed stakes driven into the ramparts of a fortification in a horizontal or inclined position

Word History


borrowed from French, literally, "pleated collar, ruff," probably from fraise "mesentery of a calf" (compared in appearance), going back to Middle French, noun derivative of fraiser, fraser "to unwrap, shell (as a bean)," going back to Old French, going back to Vulgar Latin *frēsāre, derivative of Latin frēsa (in faba frēsa "ground bean"), feminine of frēsus, past participle of frendere "to gnash, crush, grind," going back to Indo-European *gwhrend(h)- "grind" — more at grind entry 1

Note: The French outcomes of Vulgar Latin close e in *frēsāre are irregular and appear to show crossing with another word or words.

First Known Use

1775, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of fraise was in 1775

Dictionary Entries Near fraise

Cite this Entry

“Fraise.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Jun. 2023.

Medical Definition


: a surgical burr shaped like a cone or hemisphere
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