Definition of fringe in English:



  • 1An ornamental border of threads left loose or formed into tassels or twists, used to edge clothing or material.

    ‘a long grey skirt with a fringe’
    ‘the fringes of a prayer shawl’
    • ‘Beads and daisy chains are feminine touches, while rickracks, fringes, and narrow ribbons have universal appeal.’
    • ‘Many tweeds shown on the catwalk had raw fringes and the fabric could be inset with jewel rhinestones.’
    • ‘I had given her a hot pink sweater with pompom fringes.’
    • ‘It is decorated with strings, fringes, tassels, and bells.’
    • ‘To a certain extreme, having your jean shorts altered and getting rid of the fringes can help minimize the nasty look of cut-off jeans.’
    • ‘Simon rolled his eyes and picked up a black teddy with a pompom fringe.’
    • ‘Much of the vigor of the textile traditions of Mahdia comes through the embellishment of woven cloth with embroidery and the addition of fringes, tassels, and pompoms.’
    • ‘She was wearing a floral silk shirt with a fringe and a denim miniskirt.’
    • ‘The Prince of Parthia, having completed his evening devotions, folded his shawl, kissing its fringes.’
    • ‘Round his neck is a horizontally striped silk scarf with a tasselled fringe.’
    • ‘I lie under a tartan rug and my fingers twist and plait its fringe.’
    • ‘The skirt is a houndstooth print with black leather trim and a fringe at the hem.’
    • ‘I myself was dressed in a short white satin dress that had white fringes of material down the bottom, and fell in waves down my hips.’
    • ‘Allie wound a string around a black bead and glanced at the child decorating her removed armlets with tassels and a tan fringe.’
    • ‘It looked like a leotard with little dangling fringes at the bottom and sequins everywhere.’
    • ‘A cream marble altar stood complacently in mid-front, draped in a stunningly white tablecloth with fringes at the edges.’
    • ‘She chuckled, twisting the fringe of the pillow with her right hand.’
    • ‘Being a very feminine line, rounded shapes, inverted pleats, fringes, deconstructed cuts and chunky buttons feature in the collection.’
    • ‘It should also include a fringe of cutesy little pom-poms that I can dangle around my monitor.’
    • ‘They wore yellow embellishments, and both they and the grenadiers had fringes to their epaulettes.’
    edging, edge, border, hem, trimming, frill, flounce, ruffle
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  • 2British The front part of a person's hair cut so as to hang over the forehead.

    ‘she smiled as she pushed her fringe back out of her eyes’
    • ‘He pushed his fringes behind his ears and tilted his head, expecting an answer.’
    • ‘She's sitting in her bedroom, on her bed, legs crossed and hair tied back, a heavy fringe tucked behind her ears.’
    • ‘Scott put out his cigarette in the ashtray, and wiped his hand across his forehead, pushing back his fringe.’
    • ‘My hairdresser was cutting my fringe quickly and expertly.’
    • ‘Indeed the 34-year-old has even had her hair cut stylishly short with a fringe in the hope that she might look less like a ballet dancer in her everyday life.’
    • ‘The rest of her hair was black and cropped short, so the fringe hung like two pink curtains to her face.’
    • ‘His thin, reddish hair is neatly cut; a boyish fringe covers his forehead.’
    • ‘I glance in the wing mirror of the car and check how I look, I'm so nervous and my hands are shaking as I push my fringe away from my eyes.’
    • ‘As part of a new image to promote the single, 21-year-old Kimberley, of Allerton, Bradford, has been given a new haircut with a fringe.’
    • ‘The best cuts have soft layers and wispy fringes that make your hair versatile and easy to style’
    • ‘One was five feet eight inches tall with light brown hair over his ears, with white highlights in his fringe, which was over his forehead and gelled straight.’
    • ‘The man was white, in his thirties, quite tall, with pale skin and black, shoulder length hair with a short fringe.’
    • ‘You would also do well with a textured fringe or a fringe that was longer on the sides and slightly shorter in the middle.’
    • ‘He had a fairly tanned look and he had dark brown hair with a blond fringe.’
    • ‘He was aged about 30 to 35 with shoulder-length dark brown hair and a long fringe.’
    • ‘He had black and blonde hair with a long fringe that drooped over his left eye, giving him a sort of mysterious look.’
    • ‘The girl who assaulted the woman is said to have long black hair which was tied back in a ponytail with a fringe.’
    • ‘He stopped and turned around, pushing his fringe out of his deep dark eyes, glistening with tears.’
    • ‘The red one is bizarrely similar to the hair I used to have many years ago when I was at college, including the authentically crooked fringe.’
    • ‘Wisps of her fringe had escaped the loose ponytail and were now curling around her oval face.’
    1. 2.1A natural border of hair or fibres in an animal or plant.
      ‘a long fringe of hair on the tail’
      • ‘Most are blackish brown with a white fringe of hair decorously surrounding the face.’
      • ‘A short fringe of tentacles surrounds a the broad oval disc.’
      • ‘The ears are short and rounded, and in some species, their openings are protected by a fringe of hairs around the inner margin of the ear.’
      • ‘Forefeet and hindfeet each have 5 digits, and the surface area of the forefeet is increased by the addition of a fringe of stiff hairs around the periphery.’
      • ‘One genus is predatory, trapping small invertebrates under the fringe of the mantle, and then eating the captured prey.’
      • ‘So she got what was effectively a weed, as the plant produces plantlets along the leaf fringes, which drop off and sow themselves all over the place.’
      • ‘The birds hold their bills upside down, using their lower bills and tongues to pump water through fringes on the top bills, which filters out microscopic mouthfuls of food.’
      • ‘The fringe on owls' trailing feathers, however, allows for ‘a very large noise reduction at the speed owls fly,’ he said.’
      • ‘Stems and leaves have a fringe of fine hairs that are particularly appealing when plants are side- or back-lit by the sun.’
  • 3The outer, marginal, or extreme part of an area, group, or sphere of activity.

    ‘his uncles were on the fringes of crooked activity’
    • ‘Most are at the fringes or completely outside the cash economy.’
    • ‘This idea, pioneered on the Illinois frontier, is just as relevant today on Sydney's urban fringe.’
    • ‘There was a guy on the fringes of the crowd outside who caught Speedy's eye.’
    • ‘Eighty-five percent of at-risk American farms are on the fringes of urban areas.’
    • ‘Andy walked to where the cloaked stranger stood on the fringes of the crowd.’
    • ‘At the same time Taylor Morgan emerged from the fringes of the crowd, and Mike flagged him down as he walked by.’
    • ‘It was clear we were at the fringes of the richer area of the city, where the buildings were mostly residences, all large and spaced much farther apart than those structures in the common city area.’
    • ‘However, they operate on the fringes of both spheres.’
    • ‘Coming from the fringe of the electoral area, this was a gutsy performance by the Newport man who has had to fend off many heavy tackles in both his football and journalistic careers over the years.’
    • ‘The automobile and big discount stores in the urban centers at the fringes of the nation have greatly diminished the role of the trading posts.’
    • ‘It is one of the surest ways through which Zambians would have the opportunity to move from the fringes of economic activity to the mainstream.’
    • ‘Like most early projects, it replaced an area of run-down, overcrowded, squalid dwellings on the fringes of the downtown area.’
    • ‘Apart from formal trading in the three halls at the Johannesburg Fresh Produce Market, there is plenty of economic activity on the fringes.’
    • ‘Chris Towie is a doctor in Wallan, a town just outside the fringes of Melbourne's northern suburbia.’
    • ‘Initially, stations were located on the fringes of the urban area to ease access and economize on land costs.’
    • ‘Some big shopping malls are located on the fringes of the area.’
    • ‘Patricia Morris is the mayor of Gosnells, a fast-growing area on the outer fringes of Perth.’
    • ‘Moreover, growth does not occur in the city's core but along the fringes, resulting in urban slums beyond the reach of government.’
    • ‘We left the fringes of urban wildlife and circled off round the lakes that were once gravel pits and where a fisherman dipped his rod illegally.’
    • ‘Marcus steered me away from the desks and towards the fringes of the crowd, which was now composed only of people in white tunics.’
    unconventional, unorthodox, offbeat, alternative, avant-garde, experimental, innovative, innovatory, radical, extreme
    peripheral, unofficial
    left-field, off broadway
    way out
    perimeter, periphery, border, borderline, margin, rim, outer edge, edge, extremity, limit
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    1. 3.1A secondary festival on the periphery of the Edinburgh Festival.
      ‘she became noted for her work on the Fringe’
      • ‘Yeah, it was at the Fringe; it was called Tense.’
      • ‘Apricot Theatre presents The Duchess Of Malfi at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, August 10 to 30, noon, at C Venues, Chambers Street, Edinburgh.’
      • ‘I saw Beyond the Fringe on the Fringe in Edinburgh.’
      • ‘There are two Shakespeare plays appearing at this year's Fringe.’
      • ‘That's not to disparage the Fringe, says Holmes.’
      • ‘Marenghi won the Perrier Comedy Award, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival's most prestigious prize.’
      • ‘The Fringe announced its 2005 line-up there in early December.’
      • ‘‘The Fringe is a place to experiment,’ adds Tolley.’
      • ‘The Royal Bank of Scotland, the Guardian, Becks and IT group Morse are all happy to have their names attached to the Fringe.’
      • ‘Why is there no dance or drama related to it on the Fringe or at the Festival?’
      • ‘Back to the Fringe, I wanted it to have a Broadway feel.’
      • ‘The People's Festival ended in 1954, but its spirit has lived on ever since in the Fringe.’
      • ‘Christian Slater presented the award at a party on the last Saturday of the Fringe.’
      • ‘Now it's making its European debut at this year's Fringe.’
      • ‘Part of the Fringe, Alan Davies is at the Assembly Rooms until August 16.’
      • ‘Several of the shows on the Fringe worry me.’
      • ‘And I think I'll take the Fringe over the West End.’
      • ‘Wordy, longueur-ridden and far too long for the Fringe, Tom Murphy's 1983 play is also oddly compelling.’
      • ‘This evening will see Community Monologues come to the Fringe.’
      • ‘First there was the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, then the Edinburgh Film Festival, followed by the Edinburgh Television Festival and the Edinburgh Book Festival.’
  • 4A band of contrasting brightness or darkness produced by diffraction or interference of light.

    • ‘And when waves are specified and you need to look at fringes, think consciously about where the light has been.’
    • ‘It can be seen most clearly when a coherent wave is split into two partial waves that are then recombined to produce a pattern of bright and dark fringes on a screen.’
    • ‘According to Young, diffraction fringes occur as a result of interference between the incident wave and a wave arising from the edge of a diffracting aperture or body.’
    • ‘During this process, the beams from the reference surface and test sample interfere, producing dark and bright fringes.’
    • ‘The rainbows, often referred to as ‘the glory’, are simply the chromatic fringes developed by diffraction at the margin of the shadow, but it's a startling spectacle.’
    1. 4.1A strip of false colour in an optical image.
      • ‘In those days such simple telescopes tended to produce poor images with colored fringes around celestial objects.’
      • ‘The device can produce high-contrast optical fringes.’
      • ‘But being me I kept being distracted by the fringe of the projected image.’
  • 5North American

    ‘we offer the highest salary and fringes in the country’
    short for fringe benefit
    • ‘Clark observes that other factors, such as the current exchange rates, competitive wages and lower fringes, also play into the picture.’


  • 1 Decorate (clothing or material) with a fringe.

    ‘a rich robe of gold, fringed with black velvet’
    • ‘He is clad in a jeweled robe fringed with ermine and his mustache and beard are immense and golden.’
    • ‘One of earliest references to the use of bookmarks was in 1584 when the Queen's Printer, Christopher Barker, presented Queen Elizabeth I with a fringed silk bookmark.’
    • ‘The gem-studded epaulettes are fringed with seed pearls.’
    • ‘Metallic mosaic tiles, opulently draped curtains, and fringed rugs and throws all contributed to the heady and exotic effect of an Ali Baba cave.’
    • ‘The early Danhauser sofas are distinguished by their silk upholstery and abundant fringed draperies.’
    • ‘Woven mats, often fringed with brightly colored wool, are used as gifts at the funerals of relatives.’
    • ‘It was pulled tight over my stomach and bust, and was fringed with white fluff on the hem of the dress and ends of the sleeves.’
    • ‘Painted dragons hold up these canvasses, just as the carved silvered and tinted flying dragons support the blue silk satin window draperies, fringed with gold tassels.’
    • ‘Stylishly clad in a pair of fashionably cut blue jeans and a close-fitting black top fringed with tassels along the lower edge, she was all smiles as she waved and acknowledged the cheers of the crowd.’
    • ‘One has long silver legs and wears black motorcycle boots; another sports a multicolored fringed outfit with baby-pink platform shoes.’
    • ‘Chandeliers draped with fringed lampshades hung from the ceiling, while gilded mirrors and black-and-white photos of rock icons such as Debbie Harry and Billy Idol lined the red walls.’
    • ‘This frame has a leather mat and hanging strap, and is fringed with scrap yarn.’
    • ‘The old man is wearing a maroon vest fringed with intricate weaving in orange, and has an enormous string of polished blue stones hung in six loops around his neck.’
    • ‘The white backdrop resembles a fringed altar cloth, with small fir trees stitched in the bottom portion.’
    • ‘The figure is represented in flowing vestments of white, fringed with gold; and she bears aloft a scarf half unfurled by the breeze.’
    • ‘These handmade Timorese weavings, rectangular in shape and fringed on two edges, are useful as tablecloths, shawls or wall hangings.’
    • ‘Traditional peasant women in mountain areas wear large, fringed shawls called pañolones.’
    • ‘Sammy also lends me items of clothing that he's acquired from various sources, the latest being a fringed leather vest that he claims he found in a bag of clothing somewhere.’
    • ‘Her bed was covered in fringed pillows; a stuffed teddy bear sat in the middle of them.’
    • ‘The surrounding ottomans are covered in deep-maroon silk and fringed with gold-dyed tassels.’
    trim, hem, edge, border, rim, bind, braid
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    1. 1.1Form a border around (something)
      ‘the sea is fringed by palm trees’
      • ‘Soon the avenues will be fringed with pines where the Christmas tree sellers have set up their stalls.’
      • ‘Pounding surf, galloping horses and a rugged coastline fringed with subtropical forests are standard ingredients of many a romantic creation.’
      • ‘And outside only a bird's mournful cry broke the stillness of the timeless, winding country lanes and mile upon rolling mile of flat farm land fringed by the sea.’
      • ‘One included a hole in the top and we could climb out onto the top of the cliff so that we could overlook the western beach of the island and the beautiful reefs fringing the entire area.’
      • ‘The whole chamber was decorated with a deep blood color and fringed with gold.’
      • ‘The road out of Belfast took us through neat suburbs fringed with lawns and gardens.’
      • ‘Playground and workplace for British Columbia's people (most of whom live near its shores) the Strait of Georgia is fringed with hundreds of fjords, bays and estuaries.’
      • ‘The natural timber chalets of Tenggol Aqua Resort blend harmoniously into the environment, nestled comfortably amongst the lush green fringing the beach.’
      • ‘Nearly 2,000 participants from various parts of the city thronged the ground fringed with entertainment stalls and were dancing and trying their luck at the games.’
      • ‘Her large eyes were a very unusual blend of blue and violet, fringed with long dark lashes.’
      • ‘Eventually we arrived at a black sand bay fringed with jungle.’
      • ‘Timia is a gem of an oasis, a well watered valley, fringed by mountains.’
      • ‘As lakes go, they're pretty warm and fringed with white sand so swimming is easy, but you can also hire jet-skis, waterskis or fishing gear here.’
      • ‘This one, fringed with Scotch moss, curves past lilies and other perennials.’
      • ‘The hills rose into peaks, fringed with dark clusters of pine.’
      • ‘However, they're fringed with mature cherry trees.’
      • ‘It's an otherworldly site, fringed with dunes and studded with bone-white calcium carbonate spires called tufa towers.’
      • ‘Finally, there's a sweeping vista of a white beach fringed with coconut palms, with a pristine coral reef.’
      • ‘The ribbon of land mass, fringed with coconut trees, stretches for more than 12,500 miles around a vast lagoon.’
      • ‘Columbia University walkways are still fringed with snow from late winter storms.’
      border, edge, bound, skirt, line, hem, flank, verge, surround, enclose, encircle, circle, encompass, ring, circumscribe
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    2. 1.2(of a plant or animal) having a border of hair or fibre.
      ‘the fringed green leaves’
      • ‘More and more people are becoming interested in fringed tulips - so much so, that these tulips now have their own group.’
      • ‘Some of their petals have very smooth edges, while others are deeply fringed.’
      • ‘The baleen whales feed on swarms of shrimp-like crustaceans called krill, by straining the sea water through long, fringed baleen plates that hang down from the roof of a cavernous mouth.’
      • ‘Almost round, they have a bur or mosslike fringed cap that covers at least half the nut.’
      • ‘With its phenomenal fringed and ruffled petals and velvety purple-black color, this is a tulip that stands out in any garden.’
      • ‘Clean cultivation should serve as an effective aid in managing white fringed beetles.’
      • ‘There are also playful parrot tulips with ruffled flower edges, frilly fringed tulips and lily-flowered tulips with pointed petals.’
      • ‘For something a tiny bit fancy choose a fringed tulip.’
      • ‘The fringed petal edges were flecked with blue, and the stem was tied with white ribbon.’
      • ‘The fringed white flowers appear in spring, held above the water among the foliage.’
      • ‘The scientific name of fringed sagebrush is Artemisia frigida Willd.’
      • ‘Pecterlis gigantean, with its large white flowers, a fan-shaped fringed lip and a very long spur, is the most spectacular orchid found in mossy fields.’
      • ‘It is characterized with slender, brown-yellow bugs with fringed wings thriving in flower buds.’
      • ‘There is a large, branched tentacle above each eye, adding to the fish's somewhat comical appearance, and a very much smaller fringed tentacle on the nostril beneath each eye.’
      • ‘The even-spreading noon sun was accompanied by mocking cries of the fringed quetzal from the forests around the plantation.’


Middle English: from Old French frenge, based on late Latin fimbria, earlier a plural noun meaning fibres, shreds.