Definition of frilly in US English:



  • 1Decorated with frills or similar ornamentation.

    ‘a frilly apron’
    • ‘All through elementary school she bought me frilly, lacy dresses and huge hair bows.’
    • ‘The other kids could tease me till I cried, but as far as I was concerned, frilly sleeping apparel was fair game on a canoe trip.’
    • ‘Her mother had decorated the room mostly in white with loads of frilly things in it, and she hated it, but it was one of the only places to go where they could be alone.’
    • ‘It seems simply to entail prancing about, albeit slowly and gracefully, whilst dressed in expensive, frilly clothing.’
    • ‘I grinned, picturing my mother dashing back and forth in the kitchen, clad in a frilly pink apron and caked with flour, a sewing needle in one hand and a whisk in the other.’
    • ‘Then I donned my pearls and frilly apron and concocted a delectable dinner of Mexican bread, mini-meat loaves and fresh green beans.’
    • ‘I envisaged something large and frilly with a frothy veil.’
    • ‘Scout herself is a bit of a tomboy and would much rather play outside in overalls than wear frilly dresses, much to her aunt's dismay.’
    • ‘Those frilly, lacy hearts of different shades of red, white and pink just didn't do it for me.’
    • ‘Mish was allowed to wear a frilly apron as a concession.’
    • ‘Well, I don't like my underwear to be lacy or frilly so I'm much more likely to buy Hanro cottons or stretch net from Prada and Calvin Klein than anything by La Perla.’
    • ‘Many a bride has registered for frilly tableware.’
    • ‘Waitresses dress in costumes which recall the early days of London's first tearooms, when white frilly aprons were worn over black dresses, and white caps covered their hair.’
    • ‘The young woman dried her hands on a frilly apron.’
    • ‘The problem is that I have no first-hand knowledge of the past in Alice Springs except sepia prints of people in suits and big frilly skirts.’
    • ‘With his frilly, fancy clothes and fastidious manner, Cantus always seemed like he belonged more at a poetry recital than in battle.’
    • ‘But the playful look gave way to long patchwork dresses, vests with frilly collars and cashmere cardigans which the designer said a girl might wear to impress her mother.’
    • ‘The doll wore a frilly, pale pink dress with a lacy shawl, but as I looked down the line, they were all dressed similarly.’
    • ‘Gone are the days of chambermaids wearing black smocks, frilly white aprons and lace caps.’
    • ‘With its high button-up neck and frilly ruffle details, it's both flattering and comfortable.’
    ruffled, flounced, frilled, crimped, gathered, pleated, ruched, tucked, trimmed, lacy, frothy
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Overelaborate or showy in character or style.
      ‘seafood dishes that avoid being too frilly or rich’
      • ‘It's too fancy, too frilly, too difficult to read.’
      • ‘As hard as she tried, Kayin couldn't picture him anywhere that wasn't frilly, rich, and perfect.’
      • ‘His performance in that film shows up the Randall version for what it really was - a prissy, frilly, silly version of a far more interesting and comic character.’

plural noun

  • An item of women's underwear.

    • ‘The premise is simple; an uptight German bureaucrat upbraids his wife for allowing her frillies to fall off at a parade for the King.’
    • ‘The successful ones would trot off with the lady's frillies pinned to their hats to bring luck.’
    • ‘Dressed in her frillies and armed with a loud hailer, she shouts out her demands to Mike in front of a crowd.’
    • ‘Someone puts his red T-shirt in the wash with your pristine white pants and you suddenly find yourself weeping on the kitchen floor clutching a pair of pink frillies and cursing like a trawlerman.’
    • ‘Hard as it may be to track, many of the men who like to wear frillies are heterosexual.’
    • ‘The author and actress has travelled all over the country recounting tales about knickers and written books on the history of frillies.’
    • ‘Ensconced on a giant rucksack, wearing camouflage paint, a helmet and some fetching pink frillies, Lydia's mum Jodie, agreed: ‘It's absolutely fantastic.’’