fray

noun (1)
\ ˈfrā How to pronounce fray (audio) \

Definition of fray

 (Entry 1 of 4)

: a usually disorderly or protracted fight, struggle, or dispute Fighting there could easily draw neighboring nations into the fray.— Blaine Harden … the patrician statesman who stood above the fray.— Richard D. Hylton

fray

verb (1)
frayed; fraying; frays

Definition of fray (Entry 2 of 4)

transitive verb

1a : to wear (something, such as an edge of cloth) by or as if by rubbing : fret
b : to separate the threads at the edge of
2 : strain, irritate … a botched new bus system … which has frayed tempers.The Economist

intransitive verb

1 : to wear out or into shreds
2 : to show signs of strain fraying nerves

fray

noun (2)

Definition of fray (Entry 3 of 4)

: a raveled place or worn spot (as on fabric)

fray

verb (2)
frayed; fraying; frays

Definition of fray (Entry 4 of 4)

transitive verb

archaic
: scare also : to frighten away

Synonyms for fray

Synonyms: Noun (1)

Synonyms: Verb (1)

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First Known Use of fray

Noun (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Verb (1)

15th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Noun (2)

1630, in the meaning defined above

Verb (2)

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for fray

Verb (1)

Middle English fraien, from Anglo-French freier, froier to rub, from Latin fricare — more at friction

Verb (2) and Noun (1)

Middle English fraien, short for affraien to affray

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Time Traveler for fray

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near fray

Fraxinus

fray

frayed

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Cite this Entry

“Fray.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fray. Accessed 28 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for fray

fray

noun
\ ˈfrā How to pronounce fray (audio) \

Kids Definition of fray

 (Entry 1 of 2)

fray

verb
frayed; fraying

Kids Definition of fray (Entry 2 of 2)

: to wear into shreds

More from Merriam-Webster on fray

Nglish: Translation of fray for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of fray for Arabic Speakers

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