: worn or shredded at the ends or edges
frayed jeans
A long line of scared-looking first years entered, led by Professor McGonagall, who was carrying a stool on which sat an ancient wizard's hat, heavily patched and darned with a wide rip near the frayed brim.J. K. Rowling
: damaged, weakened, or worn down by strain or irritation
frayed nerves/tempers
He vanished underground for a time, and when he reappeared he had retired from pimping. But he was still dealing drugs, and in his frayed state he was losing his half-step edge on the law.Peter Goldman
The draconian measures drew widespread condemnation in Europe and further strained the already frayed relations between Pretoria and Washington …Mark Whitaker

Examples of frayed in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web After years of hostile and frayed relations, Iran and Saudi Arabia have agreed to reestablish diplomatic ties and reopen mutual embassies – a deal reportedly brokered by China that has raised eyebrows across the globe. Caitlin McFall, Fox News, 21 Mar. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'frayed.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1815, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of frayed was in 1815

Dictionary Entries Near frayed

Cite this Entry

“Frayed.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/frayed. Accessed 23 Feb. 2024.

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