Etymology 1Edit

From Middle English frai, aphetic variant of affray.


fray ‎(plural frays)

  1. Affray; broil; contest; combat; brawl; melee.
    Though they did not know the reason for the dispute, they did not hesitate to leap into the fray.
    • Shakespeare
      Who began this bloody fray?
    • 2010 December 29, Mark Vesty, “Wigan 2 - 2 Arsenal”, BBC:
      Wigan, unbeaten in five games at the DW Stadium, looked well in control but the catalyst for Arsenal's improvement finally came when Diaby left the field with a calf injury and Jack Wilshere came into the fray, bringing some much needed determination and urgency to lacklustre Arsenal.
  2. (archaic) fright

Etymology 2Edit

From Middle English fraien, from Old French frayer, from Latin fricāre, present active infinitive of fricō.


fray ‎(third-person singular simple present frays, present participle fraying, simple past and past participle frayed)

  1. (intransitive) To unravel; used particularly for the edge of something made of cloth, or the end of a rope.
    The ribbon frayed at the cut end.
  2. (intransitive, figuratively) To cause exhaustion, wear out (a person's mental strength).
    The stressful day ended in frayed nerves. (Metaphorical use; nerves are visualised as strings)
  3. (transitive, archaic) frighten; alarm
    • 1611, Bible (Authorized, or King James, Version), Jeremiah 7:33
      And the carcases of this people shall be meat for the fowls of the heaven, and for the beasts of the earth; and none shall fray them away.
    • 1662, Henry More, An Antidote Against Atheism, Book II, A Collection of Several Philosophical Writings of Dr. Henry More, p. 63:
      "Besides, all the wit and Philosophy in the world can never demonstrate, that the killing and slaughtering of a Beast is anymore then the striking of a Bush where a Bird's Nest is, where you fray away the Bird, and then seize upon the empty Nest."
    • Spenser
      What frays ye, that were wont to comfort me affrayed?
    (Can we find and add a quotation of I. Taylor to this entry?)
  4. (transitive) To bear the expense of; to defray.
    • Massinger
      The charge of my most curious and costly ingredients frayed, I shall acknowledge myself amply satisfied.
  5. (intransitive) To rub.
    • Sir Walter Scott
      We can show the marks he made / When 'gainst the oak his antlers frayed.



Apocope of fraile ‎(friar).


fray m ‎(plural frayes)

  1. friar


Read in another language