\ˈfril \
frilled; frilling; frills

Definition of frill 

(Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

: to provide or decorate with a frill



Definition of frill (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : a gathered, pleated, or bias-cut fabric edging used on clothing

b : a strip of paper curled at one end and rolled to be slipped over the bone end (as of a chop) in serving

2 : a ruff of hair or feathers or a bony or cartilaginous projection about the neck of an animal

3a : affectation, air usually used in plural intellectual frills and fustian— Joseph Epstein

b : something decorative or useful and desirable but not essential : luxury

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Other Words from frill


frilly \ˈfri-lē \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for frill

Synonyms: Noun

amenity, comfort, extra, indulgence, luxury, superfluity

Antonyms: Noun

basic, essential, fundamental, must, necessity, requirement

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Examples of frill in a Sentence


The dress had frills around the hem and sleeves. He likes plain food without any frills.

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Summer has officially arrived in that terracotta Temperley London dress, with plunging neckline, ruffled skirt and frilled short sleeves. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Beyoncé and Jay-Z's Cannes Vacation Photos Are Straight Out of a Dream," 3 July 2018 At separate ends of town, two buxom madams and their bevies of painted, frilled and scandalously clad ladies welcomed miners and threw lavish parties. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Historic California Ghost Town Is Up For Sale," 16 June 2018 For the women of Ocean’s 8, the objective was to steal the world’s attention: Rihanna thrilling and frilling in Givenchy, Sarah Paulson bold in acidic chartreuse from Prada, Awkwafina a caped goddess in Reem Acra. Edward Barsamian, Vogue, "10 Best Dressed: Week of June 11, 2018," 11 June 2018 Xavier's head coaching job has never been more attractive and brings with it frills like updates facilities, a great on-campus gym, one of college basketball's power conferences and an enviable TV deal. Patrick Brennan,, "The fallout and response to Chris Mack's departure from Xavier basketball for Louisville," 27 Mar. 2018 There’s a masculinity that’s barely detectable but nonetheless present — in the stiff leather of a miniskirt, say, or the strictness of a black pantsuit worn with a pale pink camisole that frilled in the front. Cathy Horyn, The Cut, "The Memory of Fashion," 29 Sep. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

No frills, no fuss, no hair-ties or towels left behind. Halie Lesavage, Glamour, "20 Summer Bags That Literally Hold Everything," 2 July 2018 The metallic dress had a subtle sheen, and its ruffled sleeves and hem amped up the fun and frills. Edward Barsamian, Vogue, "The Dancing Emoji Dress Is Back on Margot Robbie," 26 Feb. 2018 This is a slightly creamy version, emerging from the machine in frills, in Hello Kitty shades like pink, lavender, and pale green. Devra First,, "In search of brain freeze," 21 May 2018 So Harrison's decision will come without frills, most likely by the end of this summer. Bill Landis,, "How Zach Harrison's unique recruitment forced programs like Ohio State to change the way they chase five-stars," 15 May 2018 Critics dismiss the ads as an expensive frill, meant to reward the sheriffs’ Democratic allies and buy friendly news coverage for the relatively uncovered agency. Jeremy Roebuck,, "Sheriff sale ads: A bonanza for the politically connected in Philly," 27 Apr. 2018 There are 24 vertical pods on the rooftop used to grow sage, lettuce, kale, fennel fronds, borage, arugula, mustard frills, mustard greens and more. Jenn Harris,, "When farm-to-table comes to your own front yard," 14 Mar. 2018 The new gates offer more amenities, such as outlets in every seat and more space for passengers, as Charlotte balances its low-cost, no-frills past with a flashier future. Ely Portillo, charlotteobserver, "Charlotte’s airport manages ‘tricky balance’ between low-cost hub and fancy new gates," 12 July 2018 Finally, for 4K Ultra HD and HDR streaming, the Chromecast Ultra is $54, down from $69, which makes its no-frills design much more palatable. Alexandria Haslam, PCWorld, "The Google Store's blowout sale has big deals on the Pixel 2 XL, Chromecast, and Google Home," 9 July 2018

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

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First Known Use of frill


1574, in the meaning defined above


1591, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for frill


perhaps from Dutch dialect (Brabant) frul ribbon bow, trifle

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Statistics for frill

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Time Traveler for frill

The first known use of frill was in 1574

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More Definitions for frill



English Language Learners Definition of frill

: a strip of cloth that is gathered into folds on one edge and attached to something (such as clothing or curtains) as a decoration

: something that is added but is not necessary


\ˈfril \

Kids Definition of frill

2 : something added mostly for show The food was plain without any frills.

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Comments on frill

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


one that holds something together

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