Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A scuffle; a brawl. See Synonyms at brawl.
  • n. A heated dispute or contest.
  • transitive v. Archaic To alarm; frighten.
  • transitive v. Archaic To drive away.
  • transitive v. To strain; chafe: repeated noises that fray the nerves.
  • transitive v. To wear away (the edges of fabric, for example) by rubbing.
  • intransitive v. To become worn away or tattered along the edges.
  • n. A frayed or threadbare spot, as on fabric.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Affray; broil; contest; combat; brawl; melee.
  • n. fright
  • v. To unravel; used particularly for the edge of something made of cloth, or the end of a rope.
  • v. To cause exhaustion, wear out (a person's mental strength).
  • v. (archaic) frighten

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. An angry quarrel; an affray; contest; combat; broil.
  • n. A fret or chafe, as in cloth; a place injured by rubbing.
  • intransitive v. To rub.
  • intransitive v. To wear out or into shreads, or to suffer injury by rubbing, as when the threads of the warp or of the woof wear off so that the cross threads are loose; to ravel.
  • transitive v. To frighten; to terrify; to alarm.
  • transitive v. To bear the expense of; to defray.
  • transitive v. To rub; to wear off, or wear into shreds, by rubbing; to fret, as cloth.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To put in fear; terrify; frighten; deter by fear.
  • To maltreat; misuse.
  • To contend; combat; fight.
  • To rub; grate.
  • To rub away the surface of; fret, as cloth by wearing, or the skin by friction; especially, to ravel out the edge of, as a piece of stuff, by drawing out threads of the warp so that the threads of the weft make a kind of fringe: in this sense usually with out.
  • To rub against something.
  • To yield to rubbing or fretting; ravel out, as cloth.
  • n. An affray; a battle; an assault; a quarrel with violence.
  • n. A brawl; a riot; a mêlée.
  • n. A chase; a hunt.
  • n. Synonyms Mêlée, Brawl, etc. See quarrel, n.
  • n. A fret or chafe in cloth, a cord, etc.; a place injured or weakened by rubbing: as, a fray in an angler's line.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. cause friction
  • v. wear away by rubbing
  • n. a noisy fight

Etymologies

Middle English frai, shortening of affrai; see affray.
Middle English fraien, to wear, bruise, from Old French fraier, to rub, from Latin fricāre.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French frayer, from Latin fricō. (Wiktionary)

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  • frazzle - frequentative form ?

    September 20, 2011