\ ˈfril How to pronounce frill (audio) \
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 pluralintellectual 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 How to pronounce frilly (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms for frill

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of frill in a Sentence

Noun The dress had frills around the hem and sleeves. He likes plain food without any frills.
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Bound in a pale pink casing, the catalog comprises two mint green volumes that walk the reader through the history and modern applications of camp in all its feathered and frilled glory. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "An Exclusive First Look at the Met’s “Camp: Notes on Fashion” Catalog," 3 Apr. 2019 Town & Country reported the ivory taffeta dress was embroidered with sequins, frilled lace and 10,000 pearls. Stephanie Nolasco, Fox News, "Princess Diana's waist shrunk down to 23 inches for her wedding to Prince Charles," 30 July 2018 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 When his 20-day transit permit in Mexico expired, Nkeze helped a friend at a Tijuana juice factory for a cut of his earnings and lived at a no-frills hotel in the city’s red-light district. Washington Post, "Tougher US asylum policy follows in Europe’s footsteps," 24 Nov. 2019 Pieces include flowy, easy fitting cuts, frills, and gathers in a range of colors from blues, browns to blacks, hues of pink, and amber reds. Nandi Howard, Essence, "H&M Is Celebrating Its First South African Collaboration," 9 Aug. 2019 Toyoko Inn specializes in no-frills economy hotels with small rooms and few amenities. Ryan Ori,, "Japanese chain takes step toward building 615-room hotel near Union Station," 13 Apr. 2018 Price Rite’s upgrades are coming at a time when competition has come increasingly to the Baltimore area from discount, no-frills grocers such as Aldi, Save-A-Lot and German discounter LIdl. Lorraine Mirabella,, "Price Rite Marketplace supermarkets in Baltimore unveil new store concept," 1 Nov. 2019 Faced with a choice of chasing the premium carriers or competing in no-frills flying, BA tried to do both—satisfying neither group of customers. The Economist, "The world’s 19th-favourite airline British Airways’ profits may not fly high much longer," 19 Oct. 2019 In 1969 Australian aviator Don Adams built an airstrip and accommodations, started replanting the island, and over time created a no-frills resort. National Geographic, "Three by sea: Life-changing tales from female travelers," 14 Nov. 2019 Yeshivat He’Atid, an Orthodox day school in Teaneck, New Jersey, combines a no-frills approach with blended-learning classroom instruction to keep down costs. Ben Harris,, "Innovative ways Jewish day schools are reducing tuition costs," 5 Nov. 2019 Pop into the no-frills La Piadina del Melarancio in the city center and pick a piadina for a toasty meal on the go. Prathap Nair, National Geographic, "Visit Italy’s mesmerizing city of mosaics," 20 Aug. 2019

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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Time Traveler for frill

Time Traveler

The first known use of frill was in 1574

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Cite this Entry

“Frill.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 13 December 2019.

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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 How to pronounce frill (audio) \

Kids Definition of frill

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on frill

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for frill

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with frill

Spanish Central: Translation of frill

Nglish: Translation of frill for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of frill for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about frill

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).


easily led, controlled, or managed

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