frilled edging.

Origin of frilling

First recorded in 1805–15; frill + -ing1




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.

Origin of frill

First recorded in 1585–95; origin uncertain
Related formsfrill·er, nounun·frill, verb (used with object) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for frilling

Historical Examples of frilling

  • The orange of the enormous lip and the frilling specially fine.

    The Woodlands Orchids

    Frederick Boyle

  • A tie-pin or stud was also seen in the centre of the stock or frilling.

    Dress design

    Talbot Hughes

  • This is called "frilling," and occurs when the developer is too warm.

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

    Emily Fox-Seton

    Frances Hodgson Burnett

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

    The Moonstone

    Wilkie Collins

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 cropFull name: oriental frill
photog a wrinkling or loosening of the emulsion at the edges of a negative or print
(often plural) informal a superfluous or pretentious thing or manner; affectationhe made a plain speech with no frills


(tr) to adorn or fit with a frill or frills
to form into a frill or frills
(intr) photog (of an emulsion) to develop a frill
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 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