Main definitions of fray in English

: fray1fray2

fray1

verb

  • 1no object (of a fabric, rope, or cord) unravel or become worn at the edge, typically through constant rubbing.

    ‘cheap fabric soon frays’
    • ‘Trevelyan himself was present, bent with age, his musty gown fraying at the edges - emblematic, I remember thinking, of an old order passing.’
    • ‘Irate motorists who haven't read the highway code I can deal with, being scruffy because my jacket is already fraying at the edges is another matter.’
    • ‘Often the chimps modified the fishing probe, pulling it through their teeth to fray the end like a paintbrush.’
    • ‘The girl quickly tucked the blue ends of her hair into her black fraying sweater, concealing them from sight, and jogged up the steps to the church building.’
    • ‘The paper was thin and the edges were beginning to fray from age.’
    • ‘‘Cheap’ thread will fray, break and cause knotting of the thread while sewing.’
    • ‘This fabric doesn't fray, comes in a wide array of patterns and solids, and does not need to be hemmed or sewn!’
    • ‘At his feet was a strip of dirt colored cloth, frayed at the edges.’
    • ‘The moist tawny plumpness of the peaches, dabbled with thick but scratched crimson so that they look like frayed velvet, is further accentuated by the hard cracked shells of the walnuts alongside them on the tablecloth.’
    • ‘Ribbons fray over time, and they have to be replaced.’
    • ‘The hallway was a drab grey and the worn carpet was fraying.’
    • ‘Underground cables become frayed from aging, corrosive chemicals, overload or rats biting them.’
    • ‘The cloth had frayed at the edges; the tassels had unraveled.’
    • ‘First thing that shocks is the decor - everything looks really dated - the sofas seem to be fraying at the edges and the wooden dancefloor is in a poor condition.’
    • ‘He had a long black coat that trailed the floor slightly, the edges torn and frayed, obviously often used.’
    • ‘Moreover, overlocking seams and hemming garments are not necessary because the fabric doesn't fray.’
    • ‘At intervals of around 2 inches there is fraying all along the edges of the collar and sleeves.’
    • ‘The cheap, no-frills fix is to simply melt the end of the frayed shoelace with the lighter.’
    • ‘This is a fabric which frays badly and the best way to finish it is to encase those edges within the seams.’
    • ‘That much was true, but I'd overlooked just how much of the fabric has frayed or worn a little bit, exposing the pure-white threads underneath the blue.’
    unravelling, unravelled, worn, well worn, threadbare, tattered, ragged, holey, moth-eaten, shabby
    unravel, wear, wear thin, wear out, wear away, wear through, become worn, become threadbare, become tattered, become ragged, go into holes, go through
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    1. 1.1 (of a person's nerves or temper) show the effects of strain.
      ‘as the temperature rose, tempers frayed’
      • ‘Already kept waiting for more then two hours, his temper was fraying.’
      • ‘The call came at a meeting of police and villagers, during which tempers frayed as residents complained of a lack of police presence and support.’
      • ‘It was getting louder… her head was ringing - her nerves were fraying - everything was stretching, threatening to snap.’
      • ‘Despite this I was full of restless energy, and my nerves were fraying.’
      • ‘The cottonwoods shimmered, the dirt turned gold, but back at camp that night, everyone's nerves frayed from a long day on the rock, emotions ran high.’
      • ‘After a weekend of each other's company, nerves had become frayed.’
      • ‘Tempers are fraying rapidly, while frustration grows at the Government's handling of the outbreak.’
      • ‘She wrote a few days ago that she considered quitting her job as a columnist after six months because her nerves got frayed.’
      • ‘Nerves are beginning to fray as the match reaches a tense climax.’
      • ‘What with that and the Cajun music my nerves are beginning to fray somewhat.’
      • ‘School plays and concerts were great occasions, when nerves became frayed in the run-up to the big night.’
      • ‘Cyclists, horse carts, two-wheelers, three-wheelers and loaded lorries all jostled for their bit of space while horns blared and tempers got increasingly frayed.’
      • ‘Working eight-hour days, it has been hard for the cast to stay focused and nerves do occasionally fray.’
      • ‘Having a baby is a joyful but potentially stressful time as mothers and fathers have less sleep than usual and nerves can become frayed.’
      • ‘And he warns that people need to take steps to avoid long term mental health problems caused by seasonal frazzled nerves, frayed tempers, and over-indulgence.’
      • ‘With nerves frayed and frustration pent up, we are at the edge.’
      • ‘As we draw closer and closer to the time of departure the days grow more hectic and my nerves more frayed.’
      • ‘But as Christmas approaches and everybody's temper gets frayed, it is the low-level aggression that wears staff down.’
      • ‘Malhavoc puffed his cigarette quickly, his nerves frayed.’
      • ‘And as nerves fray and tempers rise you can be assured of a catty remark or backstage rumpus.’
      strained, taxed, overtaxed, irritated, edgy, tense, stressed, fraught
      strain, tax, overtax, irritate, put on edge, make edgy, make tense
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  • 2with object (of a male deer) rub (a bush or small tree) with the head in order to remove the velvet from newly formed antlers, or to mark territory during the rut.

    ‘bucks mark their territory by fraying small trees’

Origin

Late Middle English: from Old French freiier, from Latin fricare ‘to rub’.

Pronunciation

fray

/freɪ/

Main definitions of fray in English

: fray1fray2

fray2

noun

the fray
  • 1A situation of intense competitive activity.

    ‘ten companies intend to bid for the contract, with three more expected to enter the fray’
    • ‘But the fact that she's still willing to enter the fray is in itself a tribute to her survival skills.’
    • ‘Old enemies take a stand and strangers enter the fray.’
    • ‘As the game progressed I was itching to get a run and with eight minutes to go, I got the nod to enter the fray.’
    • ‘What is really necessary is to curb the number of independent candidates who enter the fray, to no useful purpose.’
    • ‘Overall domestic market share is down and it's recently been falling in the light truck sector, as new foreign competitors enter the fray.’
    • ‘To enter the fray, you need to know the business and have pretty thick skin.’
    • ‘Day by day, new names enter the fray and it looks as if there will be a bumper number of candidates for the elections to be held on 11 th June.’
    • ‘Second, will another, more appealing bidder enter the fray?’
    • ‘Many scientists enter the fray from evolutionary biology, the branch of science that conflicts most directly with religion.’
    • ‘There are also rumours that a financial bidder could enter the fray and then sell stores to the supermarket giant, which was very disappointed not be cleared.’
    • ‘That Aberdeen game saw him enter the fray as a first-half substitute, only to suffer the indignity of being hooked later in the game.’
    • ‘The second round saw some of the stronger teams from last year's competition enter the fray, and some of the first round qualifiers stepped up their game yet further under the afternoon sun.’
    • ‘Although it feels like it has been going on for decades, alas, it's still a necessary discussion, and I've been meaning to enter the fray.’
    • ‘I can't wait to enter the fray again, to challenge ignorance, to mock hypocrisy, to defeat a lie.’
    • ‘I believe he has achieved that - but the big American chemists could still enter the fray.’
    • ‘But to do that, they would have to want to enter the fray, starting from the bottom and working their way up the pecking order at rock festivals.’
    • ‘The deal has set the hares running in the industry and some investors are betting a rival suitor, possibly from the US, will enter the fray with a higher offer.’
    • ‘It is possible other bidders could enter the fray, if the take-out price is seen as too low.’
    • ‘And later we'll also investigate another energy option keen to enter the fray: geothermal power.’
    • ‘It is also expected that some other candidates will enter the fray before convention night.’
    1. 1.1 A battle or fight.
      ‘he charged into the thick of the fray and went down fighting’
      • ‘Nor can he explain his unprecedented ability to quickly heal from his frequent frays.’
      • ‘Police officers pushed several against cars to separate them from the fray as the fight spilled into a parking garage.’
      • ‘Abruptly, Beth and the other vampire joined the fray, fighting with teeth as well as preternatural speed and strength.’
      • ‘Kate felt a rush of adrenaline as she drew the silver sword and flew into the fray, her war cry calling the phantom armies to her.’
      • ‘Despite these frays, the black children realize they are financially superior.’
      • ‘Mayu is nearby, hears the battle, and rushes into the fray.’
      • ‘This is a book you cannot put down, as each page brings the reader deeper into the fray of battle.’
      • ‘You can wade into the fray and battle the many monsters the game tosses your way, but at times you also will have to switch into a special mode which slows everything.’
      • ‘She decided to weave her way through the fray, trying to avoid battles, but one knight insisted on aiding her.’
      • ‘Damion would not allow her entry to the city, but if she hung back until he was in the fray, she could sneak herself into the battle and be of some use.’
      • ‘France entered into the fray as an ally of Russia and declared war on Germany.’
      • ‘It's a sad situation, but it's changed now completely because the United States of America has entered the battle and the fray with all of our resources.’
      • ‘What clearly separated her from the others in the fray was her controlled aggression.’
      • ‘Four scuffles during the game, with one fight in particular arousing a supporter to the point that he decided to enter the fray by attacking one of the players himself.’
      • ‘See how the rotten beams are tumbling down, and how the patched and broken windows seem to scowl dimly, like eyes that have been hurt in drunken frays.’
      battle, engagement, conflict, armed conflict, fight, clash, skirmish, altercation, tussle, struggle, scuffle, melee, brawl, riot, commotion, disturbance
      View synonyms

Origin

Late Middle English: from archaic fray ‘to quarrel’, from affray ‘startle’, from Anglo-Norman French afrayer (see affray).

Pronunciation

fray

/freɪ/