\ ˈfrām \
framed; framing

Definition of frame

 (Entry 1 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to construct by fitting and uniting the parts of the skeleton of (a structure) frame a house
2a : plan, contrive framed a new method of achieving their purpose
b : shape, construct frame a figure out of clay
c : to give expression to : formulate frame a rule that brings order into our perceptions— Virginia Woolf
d : to draw up (something, such as a document) frame a written constitution
3a : to devise (something, such as a criminal charge) falsely frame a case against a neighbor to get rid of him
b : to contrive the evidence against (an innocent person) so that a verdict of guilty is assured He claims that he was framed for the murder.
c : fix sense 7b The wrestling matches were framed.
4 : to fit or adjust especially to something or for an end : arrange framed the test to evaluate students' understanding of the material
5 obsolete : produce
6 : to enclose in a frame frame a picture also : to enclose as if in a frame a face framed in a wealth of auburn hair

intransitive verb

1 archaic : proceed, go
2 obsolete : manage



Definition of frame (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : something composed of parts fitted together and united
b : the physical makeup of an animal and especially a human body : physique, figure
2a : the underlying constructional system or structure that gives shape or strength (as to a building)
b : a frame dwelling
3 obsolete : the act or manner of framing
4a : 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) frames 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
5a : an enclosing border
b : the matter or area enclosed in such a border: such 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
e : an event that forms the background for the action of a novel or play
6 : frame-up



Definition of frame (Entry 3 of 3)

: having a wood frame frame houses

Illustration of frame

Illustration of frame


frame 2a

In the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from frame


framable or frameable \ ˈfrā-​mə-​bəl \ adjective
framer noun

Examples of frame in a Sentence


It was the first state to frame a written constitution. She framed her questions carefully. He took the time to frame a thoughtful reply. She claims that she was framed.


the frame of a house I need new frames for my glasses.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Not even having Archie framed for murder and sent to a nightmare juvenile detention facility where the warden runs a deeply unconstitutional underground fight club! Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Everything You Need to Know About Kelly Ripa Joining the Cast of Riverdale," 7 Nov. 2018 Before the admission, Saudi news organizations accused Qatar of orchestrating the incident to frame Saudi Arabia and undermine its regional standing. Rory Jones And Summer Said, WSJ, "Jamal Khashoggi’s Death Fuels a Middle East Information War," 20 Oct. 2018 But on the other side, what matters is whether a city is able to frame up and implement a response to the violence. David Mcfadden, The Seattle Times, "FBI: Baltimore homicide rate topped US big cities in 2017," 25 Sep. 2018 View this post on Instagram 💕 The Triplets 💕 A post shared by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on Sep 14, 2018 at 4:53pm PDT Chi, Stormi, and True will probably frame this picture and hang it in the headquarters of their future business empire. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Kim Kardashian Shares Picture of "Triplets" Chicago, Stormi, and True," 15 Sep. 2018 In the run-up to a possible Idlib offensive, the Syrian government and Russia have alleged that rebels in Idlib are planning to use chemical weapons to frame the government and induce Western punitive airstrikes. Zeina Karam, Fox News, "Q&A: Idlib battle a climactic end to Syria rebellion?," 13 Sep. 2018 And in their Declaration of Independence – and later in their Constitution – the Founders of the US were consciously framing the world’s first nation influenced by the Enlightenment. Mark Sappenfield, The Christian Science Monitor, "The largest patriotism," 3 July 2018 Consider framing your favorites and creating a photo wall in a hallway, for instance. Cindy Dampier,, "Design Smarts: Remodelista's Julie Carlson on changing it up," 2 July 2018 Yet inclusivity and authenticity will only take place when African-American men and women stand at the helm of their own businesses, telling their own stories, framing their own narratives and creating spaces to do so. Gail Mitchell, Billboard, "Urban One's Cathy Hughes on the Importance of 'Creating Your Own Table'," 30 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Farther in, an enormous Skyspace frames the eye of the crater. Jay Cheshes, WSJ, "James Turrell’s New Masterpiece in the Desert," 14 Jan. 2019 Clearly there's a television out of frame playing Quantico in this shot. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas' Flirty Instagram Activity: A Complete History," 13 Nov. 2018 Look along the mattress seams and zippers, under the mattress, and at each joint of the bed frame. Meredith Carey, Condé Nast Traveler, "How to Check for Bed Bugs in a Hotel Room," 10 Sep. 2018 Kristian Bush of Sugarland even gets in on the roleplay as the snooping neighbor in oversized frames. Shanté Honeycutt, Billboard, "Sugarland & Taylor Swift's Glamorous 'Babe' Video Depicts a Retro Love Triangle," 9 June 2018 The house is built from four shipping containers arranged at various angles on a steel frame. Megan Barber, Curbed, "The 5 best shipping container houses of 2018," 27 Dec. 2018 Manufactured homes are fully constructed in a remote home building facility on a steel frame and then transported to the final site where it is set on a permanent foundation. Maggie Burch, House Beautiful, "The Impressive Evolution Of Prefabricated Houses," 24 Dec. 2018 For the door, draw on frame and crosshatches with royal icing; once dry, decorate with a red string licorice bow. Taylor Murray, Country Living, "Gingerbread Barn," 19 Nov. 2018 An understated coverlet keeps the focus on a statement bed frame. Kelsey Kloss, ELLE Decor, "How to Choose Between a Coverlet and a Bedspread," 27 Aug. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'frame.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of frame


14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1780, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for frame

Verb, Noun, and Adjective

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about frame

Dictionary Entries near frame







frame drum

Statistics for frame

Last Updated

18 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for frame

The first known use of frame was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for frame



English Language Learners Definition of frame

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: 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



English Language Learners Definition of frame (Entry 2 of 2)

: 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)


\ ˈfrām \
framed; framing

Kids Definition of frame

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : to enclose in or as if in a frame frame a picture Long brown hair framed his face.
2 : to produce (something) in writing or spoken words frame a constitution
3 : to make appear guilty He's being framed for the crime.

Other Words from frame

framer noun



Kids Definition of frame (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : the structure of an animal and especially a human body : physique a muscular frame
2 : an arrangement of parts that give form or support to something the frame of a house
3 : an open case or structure for holding or enclosing something window frame picture frame



Kids Definition of frame (Entry 3 of 3)

: having a wooden frame a two-story frame house


\ ˈfrām \

Medical Definition of frame

1 : the physical makeup of an animal and especially a human body : physique, figure
2a : a part of a pair of glasses that holds one of the lenses
b frames plural : that part of a pair of glasses other than the lenses

Keep scrolling for more

framed; framing

Legal Definition of frame

1 : to formulate the contents of and draw up (as a document) in the two hundred years since our Constitution was framed— W. J. Brennan, Jr.
2 : to contrive the evidence against (as an innocent person) so that a verdict of guilty is assured

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on frame

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for frame

Spanish Central: Translation of frame

Nglish: Translation of frame for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of frame for Arabic Speakers

Comments on frame

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


tremendous in size, volume, or degree

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Bee Cubed

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


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!