noun (1)
\ ˈfrēz How to pronounce frieze (audio) or frē-ˈzā How to pronounce frieze (audio) \

Definition of frieze

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a heavy durable coarse wool and shoddy fabric with a rough surface
2 : a pile surface of uncut loops or of patterned cut and uncut loops


noun (2)
\ ˈfrēz How to pronounce frieze (audio) \

Definition of frieze (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the part of an entablature between the architrave (see architrave sense 1) and the cornice (see cornice entry 1 sense 1)
2 : a sculptured or richly ornamented band (as on a building or piece of furniture)
3 : a band, line, or series suggesting a frieze a constant frieze of visitors wound its way around the … ruins— Mollie Panter-Downes

Other Words from frieze

Noun (2)

friezelike adjective

Frieze and Clothing

Both of the frieze homographs derive from French, but each entered that language through a different channel. The woolen homograph is from the Middle Dutch word vriese, which also refers to coarse wool. The other homograph of frieze is from the Latin word frisium, meaning "embroidered cloth." That word evolved from phrygium and Phrygia, the name of an ancient country of Asia Minor whose people excelled in metalwork, wood carving, and (unsurprisingly) embroidery. That embroidery lineage influenced the use of frieze for the middle division of an entablature, which commonly has a decorated surface resembling embroidered cloth.

First Known Use of frieze

Noun (1)

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

1563, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for frieze

Noun (1)

Middle English frise, from Anglo-French, from Middle Dutch vriese

Noun (2)

Middle French frise, perhaps from Medieval Latin phrygium, frisium embroidered cloth, from Latin phrygium, from neuter of Phrygius Phrygian, from Phrygia

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The first known use of frieze was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near frieze

Fries reaction


frieze rail

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Cite this Entry

“Frieze.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for frieze


\ ˈfrēz How to pronounce frieze (audio) \

Kids Definition of frieze

: a band or stripe (as around a building) used as a decoration

More from Merriam-Webster on frieze

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for frieze

Nglish: Translation of frieze for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about frieze


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