Definition of frazzle in English:



[WITH OBJECT]informal
  • 1Completely exhausted.

    ‘a frazzled parent’
    • ‘My frazzled brain keeps on trying to master the fundamentals and yesterday I proudly completed my first ‘tough’ puzzle (four hours, twelve minutes).’
    • ‘The damage is compounded by the loss of attention from frazzled parents trying to rebuild their lives.’
    • ‘The contestants end up bustier, blonder, emotionally frazzled and, often, looking a little drag queenesque.’
    • ‘Covering a large area of the garden close to the glasshouses, this is a must-see exhibition that offers a new perspective on our world and provides a chill-out zone for frazzled festival-goers.’
    • ‘Politely, he greets a room full of frazzled reporters, the pressure of deadlines denying any chance of conversation.’
    • ‘On the ground beneath, the frazzled reporters she left behind could only scratch their heads - in amazement and, of course, relief.’
    • ‘I'd just like to reassure the paper's staff that it's nothing personal - I've simply been too busy to do anything other than type out the frazzled contents of my mind.’
    • ‘For the frazzled chef, relocating to a suburban or rural setting can be a lifestyle choice as much as it is an economic one.’
    • ‘The latter is definitely the kind of place you can imagine frazzled executives escaping to as they float on a spume of hot bubbles.’
    • ‘This is hardly a calming thought for a frazzled office worker seeking a sandwich in their lunch break, never mind a working mother of four trying to buy 36 presents before the shops close.’
    • ‘Sitting in the library in UCD one morning, she encountered a frazzled and frustrated fellow-student.’
    • ‘It is used to torment many a couple still, who usually are both feeling frazzled and self conscious, and who are NOT thinking about bussing big kisses at all!’
    • ‘A clunking old metal elevator struggled to make its way to the ground floor, then grudgingly opened its doors to allow myself and a frazzled woman to embark.’
    • ‘Bored kids and frazzled adults were clustered in every corner and a dangerous-looking scrum had formed by the main door.’
    • ‘Some have argued that the upshot of this is the emasculated man, unable to assert himself in his relationship, and also of the frazzled, controlling matriarch, who feels under pressure and under-appreciated.’
    • ‘In homes where these fragrant creatures appeared on the doorstep, Mary Poppins style, to drag a frazzled mother away from childcaring business, the Avon Lady was a mysterious and most welcome caller.’
    • ‘This is the same little demon who kept Red and her frazzled husband up for four hours the night before refusing to sleep.’
    • ‘Maybe it was my tired state and slightly frazzled mind, but I couldn't help wondering: Why?’
    • ‘I'm enjoying the couple of days of great sunshine, cycling around a bit, but I'm kind of frazzled and burnt-out too.’
    • ‘She's certainly dressed for the part, in a jumper and a tatty leather coat, sipping her studenty tea and smoking her studenty Marlboro Lights like any other slightly frazzled third year.’
    tired out, worn out, weary, dog-tired, bone-tired, bone-weary, ready to drop, on one's last legs, asleep on one's feet, drained, fatigued, enervated, debilitated, spent
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  • 2Cause to shrivel up with burning.

    ‘we frazzle our hair with heated appliances’
    • ‘Position the grill pan about a hand's length away from the elements and grill the peppers for 6-8 minutes, or until they are frazzled at the edges and the chicory is golden-tinged.’
    • ‘The heritage railway is now faced with the task of replacing all of the electrical items in the station, which were frazzled by the bolt of lightning.’
    • ‘Instead of freezing their bits off in our chilly climes, they've opted to frazzle them Down Under, where I'm sure they'll be very happy.’
    • ‘I would never have thought of deep-frying an avocado, but the result was certainly good, and the chilli jam was perfectly piquant without frazzling the tastebuds.’
    • ‘A lightening bolt struck the school itself, blackening some of the walls and frazzling the electricity sockets.’
    • ‘From primitive men who shoved bones in their locks to impress their enemies to Francis I of France who, after accidentally frazzling his hair with a torch, set off a ‘hot’ new craze for short hair-styles.’
    • ‘Lightning strikes cut power to about 600 households throughout the region while several businesses ground to a halt as lightning bolts frazzled phone lines and computer systems.’
    • ‘It is still a convertible though and, because my fly-away hair has mostly flown away, I have a huge savannah of slaphead which frazzles like pork scratchings after even a glimpse of sun.’
    • ‘Why wait two thousand years to see a black blob on the sun - you'll only frazzle your eyeballs in the process - why do you think all those iron age astronomers went blind?’
    • ‘Don't overcook the eggs, because you'll get brown and frazzled fried eggs, chewy omelets, and green hard-boiled eggs.’
    • ‘Nothing to do with cafes putting their plastic tables out on the pavement pretending they are serving by the Mediterranean, or bars running dry of ice as global warming frazzles the throats of the thirsty.’
    weaken, make weak, make feeble, enfeeble, debilitate, enervate, sap, drain, tax, overtax, wash out, overtire, exhaust, weary, tire, tire out, fatigue, jade, wear out, prostrate, undermine, impair, render infirm, indispose, incapacitate, cripple, disable, paralyse, immobilize, lay low, put out of action
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  • 1The state of being completely exhausted.

    ‘I'm tired, worn to a frazzle’
    • ‘If you're not careful, your high speed majors will work their people to a frazzle to get that last 5 percent of polish on the quarterly training brief or the command and staff slides.’
    • ‘As he didn't want Tanj worn to a frazzle, he directed her to gather ‘reinforcements‘.’
    • ‘To those who fell victim to my Friday night frazzle, as recipients of either the maudlin or irrationally ranting and offensive, please help yourself to the usual ameliorations and apologies from the box in the corner.’
    • ‘They wore themselves to a frazzle chasing after the birds.’
    • ‘She and her husband have an organization consisting mostly of young people who clean up the city's public spaces, and they used the snaggers we sold them, and wore them to a frazzle, and bought a lot more.’
    • ‘One can worry oneself to a frazzle if one wants but it helps to be aware of what might take place.’
    • ‘Usually, when you're on the trail for a year or maybe even two years sometimes, you really get worn down to a frazzle.’
    • ‘Weeks and weeks of frenzy and frazzle have come to an end.’
    • ‘She improvised, created and worked her vocal chords to a frazzle, dashed home and prepared dinner for the intellectuals who came repeatedly to Mrs Berio's table.’
    • ‘They figured that all men in the western hemisphere would be worn to a frazzle because they would try to watch all the matches (which all show in the wee hours of the morning) AND go to work too.’
    • ‘When they finally reached the station Kit was worn to a frazzle.’
    • ‘Worrying about the kid already had him worn to a frazzle.’
    • ‘To find out what Dublin can offer as an antidote to 21st century frazzle, I popped into the National Gallery where I found the resident experts full of ideas on the subject.’
  • 2The state of being completely burnt.

    ‘the grass was regrowing within days of being burnt to a frazzle’
    • ‘It will then turn into a swollen red giant, burning to a frazzle any life left here on Earth.’
    • ‘Her pulsating energy is normally symbolised by a frazzle of electrocuted hair.’
    • ‘On it, the frazzled remains of some poor beast were nicely complemented by rosti so thick and chewy it bore a strong resemblance to gardening twine.’
    • ‘I hope never again to encounter the likes of Oysters O'Rourke, Rockefeller variants in which the shellfish had been chopped up and cooked to a frazzle.’


Early 19th century: perhaps a blend of fray and obsolete fazle ‘ravel out’, of Germanic origin. The word was originally East Anglian dialect; it came into standard British English via the US.