1. a decorative border of thread, cord, or the like, usually hanging loosely from a raveled edge or separate strip.
  2. anything resembling or suggesting this: a fringe of grass around a swimming pool.
  3. an outer edge; margin; periphery: on the fringe of the art world.
  4. something regarded as peripheral, marginal, secondary, or extreme in relation to something else: the lunatic fringe of a strong political party.
  5. Optics. one of the alternate light and dark bands produced by diffraction or interference.
  6. fringe benefit.
verb (used with object), fringed, fring·ing.
  1. to furnish with or as if with a fringe.
  2. to serve as a fringe for, or to be arranged around or along so as to suggest a fringe: armed guards fringing the building.

Origin of fringe

1325–75; Middle English frenge < Old French (French frange) < Vulgar Latin *frimbia, metathetic variant of Late Latin fimbria, Latin fimbriae fringe
Related formsfringe·less, adjectivefringe·like, adjectivefring·y, adjectiveun·der·fringe, nounun·fringe, verb (used with object), un·fringed, un·fring·ing.

Synonyms for fringe Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for fringy

Historical Examples of fringy

  • When they so cut them, they get fringy—and such fringes are more long than other fringes.

    The Story of Opal

    Opal Whiteley

  • She only wagged her fringy tail, and licked her mistress's hand, and goggled at her with her full dark eyes.

  • In the lively jumble of robust, rejoicing realities about him, he seemed to have emerged from the fringy edges of a daze.

    Villa Elsa

    Stuart Henry

  • Now, if it wasnt for that fringy thing he wears on his face, hed look almost exactly like a small-sized human.

    Friar Tuck

    Robert Alexander Wason

  • Their long branches will be a mass of flowers with fringy petals and a yellow centre.

    Amateur Gardencraft

    Eben E. Rexford

British Dictionary definitions for fringy


  1. an edging consisting of hanging threads, tassels, etc
    1. an outer edge; periphery
    2. (as modifier)fringe dwellers; a fringe area
  2. (modifier) unofficial; not conventional in formfringe theatre
  3. mainly British a section of the front hair cut short over the forehead
  4. an ornamental border or margin
  5. physics any of the light and dark or coloured bands produced by diffraction or interference of light
verb (tr)
  1. to adorn or fit with a fringe or fringes
  2. to be a fringe forfur fringes the satin
Derived Formsfringeless, adjective

Word Origin for fringe

C14: from Old French frenge, ultimately from Latin fimbria fringe, border; see fimbria
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 fringy



early 14c., from Old French frenge "thread, strand, fringe, hem" (early 14c.), from Vulgar Latin *frimbia, metathesis of Latin fimbriae (plural) "fibers, threads, fringe," of uncertain origin. Figurative sense of "outer edge, margin," is first recorded 1894. Related: Fringes. Fringe benefits is recorded from 1952.



late 15c., from fringe (n.). Related: Fringed; fringing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper