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See more synonyms for frill on Thesaurus.com
  1. a trimming, as a strip of cloth or lace, gathered at one edge and left loose at the other; ruffle.
  2. something resembling such a trimming, as the fringe of hair on the chest of some dogs.
  3. affectation of manner, style, etc.
  4. something superfluous.
  5. Photography. wrinkling or loosening of an emulsion at the edges, usually due to excessively high temperature during developing.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to trim or ornament with a frill or frills.
  2. to form into a frill.
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verb (used without object)
  1. Photography. (of an emulsion) to become wrinkled or loose.
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Origin of frill

First recorded in 1585–95; origin uncertain
Related formsfrill·er, nounun·frill, verb (used with object)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for frill

frippery, gathering, flounce, ruffle, lace, garbage, tuck, jazz, extravagance, amenity, decoration, thing, superfluity, doodad, gimcrack, garnish, fuss, gingerbread, fandangle, foppery

Examples from the Web for frill

Historical Examples of frill

  • A kind of ruffle or frill, worn formerly round the neck—a collar.

    Gomez Arias

    Joaqun Telesforo de Trueba y Coso

  • The band should be half a nail in depth, and the frill is to be crimped as evenly as possible.

  • The other edge is hemmed, and the frill is double the size round the neck.

  • Above these drawings there is a frill which falls back on the arm.

  • When they are ready, flour them, and fry with the liver and frill until brown.

British Dictionary definitions for frill


  1. a gathered, ruched, or pleated strip of cloth sewn on at one edge only, as on garments, as ornament, or to give extra body
  2. 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
  3. (often capital) a variety of domestic fancy pigeon having a ruff of curled feathers on the chest and cropFull name: oriental frill
  4. photog a wrinkling or loosening of the emulsion at the edges of a negative or print
  5. (often plural) informal a superfluous or pretentious thing or manner; affectationhe made a plain speech with no frills
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  1. (tr) to adorn or fit with a frill or frills
  2. to form into a frill or frills
  3. (intr) photog (of an emulsion) to develop a frill
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Derived Formsfrilliness, nounfrilly, adjective

Word Origin for frill

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

Word Origin and History for frill


"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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper