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90s Slang You Should Know


[fril-ing] /ˈfrɪl ɪŋ/
frilled edging.
Origin of frilling
First recorded in 1805-15; frill + -ing1


[fril] /frɪl/
a trimming, as a strip of cloth or lace, gathered at one edge and left loose at the other; ruffle.
something resembling such a trimming, as the fringe of hair on the chest of some dogs.
affectation of manner, style, etc.
something superfluous.
Photography. wrinkling or loosening of an emulsion at the edges, usually due to excessively high temperature during developing.
verb (used with object)
to trim or ornament with a frill or frills.
to form into a frill.
verb (used without object)
Photography. (of an emulsion) to become wrinkled or loose.
First recorded in 1585-95; origin uncertain
Related forms
friller, noun
unfrill, verb (used with object) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for frilling
Historical Examples
  • There were whole sets of many garments to make, and tucking and frilling and stitching were then slow processes.

    The Squire of Sandal-Side Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr
  • The orange of the enormous lip and the frilling specially fine.

    The Woodlands Orchids Frederick Boyle
  • And big tears trickled down her cheeks as far as the frilling of her collarette.

    Bouvard and Pcuchet Gustave Flaubert
  • A tie-pin or stud was also seen in the centre of the stock or frilling.

    Dress design Talbot Hughes
  • She gave these answers, with her attention apparently absorbed in folding and refolding the frilling on her nightgown.

    The Moonstone Wilkie Collins
  • She covered her chairs with Turkey-red cotton, frilling them round the seats.

    Emily Fox-Seton Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • There was a frilling, or ruche, or tucker, about the throat that I think had been sewn into it three weeks before.

    A Book of Ghosts Sabine Baring-Gould
  • Her fingers dropped from the frilling of her nightgown, and her fierce black eyes flashed at me.

    The Moonstone Wilkie Collins
  • Mrs Bowater looked a little formal with stiff white "frilling" round her neck.

    Memoirs of a Midget Walter de la Mare
  • The front is trimmed with fullings of satin, attached to which, and frilling back, is a row of pointed lace.

British Dictionary definitions for frilling


a gathered, ruched, or pleated strip of cloth sewn on at one edge only, as on garments, as ornament, or to give extra body
a ruff of hair or feathers around the neck of a dog or bird or a fold of skin around the neck of a reptile or amphibian
(often capital) a variety of domestic fancy pigeon having a ruff of curled feathers on the chest and crop Full name oriental frill
(photog) a wrinkling or loosening of the emulsion at the edges of a negative or print
(often pl) (informal) a superfluous or pretentious thing or manner; affectation: he made a plain speech with no frills
(transitive) to adorn or fit with a frill or frills
to form into a frill or frills
(intransitive) (photog) (of an emulsion) to develop a frill
Derived Forms
frilliness, noun
frilly, adjective
Word Origin
C14: perhaps of Flemish origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for frilling



"wavy ornamental edging," 1801 (with a doubtful attestation from 1590s), of uncertain origin despite much speculation [see OED]; figurative sense of "useless ornament" first recorded 1893. The verb meaning "to furnish with a frill" is recorded in 1570s. Related: Frilled.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for frilling



A woman, esp a young woman; frail (1920s+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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