Definition of fringe in English:

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Pronunciation: /frinj/


1An ornamental border of threads left loose or formed into tassels or twists, used to edge clothing or material.
Example sentences
  • Much of the vigor of the textile traditions of Mahdia comes through the embellishment of woven cloth with embroidery and the addition of fringes, tassels, and pompoms.
  • Being a very feminine line, rounded shapes, inverted pleats, fringes, deconstructed cuts and chunky buttons feature in the collection.
  • She was wearing a floral silk shirt with a fringe and a denim miniskirt.
edging, edge, border, trimming, frill, flounce, ruffle;
archaic purfle
2 chiefly British term for bangs (see bang1 (sense 2 of the noun)).
Example sentences
  • As part of a new image to promote the single, 21-year-old Kimberley, of Allerton, Bradford, has been given a new haircut with a fringe.
  • Scott put out his cigarette in the ashtray, and wiped his hand across his forehead, pushing back his fringe.
  • His thin, reddish hair is neatly cut; a boyish fringe covers his forehead.
2.1A natural border of hair or fibers in an animal or plant.
Example sentences
  • Stems and leaves have a fringe of fine hairs that are particularly appealing when plants are side- or back-lit by the sun.
  • Most are blackish brown with a white fringe of hair decorously surrounding the face.
  • Forefeet and hindfeet each have 5 digits, and the surface area of the forefeet is increased by the addition of a fringe of stiff hairs around the periphery.
3 (often the fringes) The outer, marginal, or extreme part of an area, group, or sphere of activity: his uncles were on the fringes of crooked activity
More example sentences
  • Eighty-five percent of at-risk American farms are on the fringes of urban areas.
  • Initially, stations were located on the fringes of the urban area to ease access and economize on land costs.
  • Like most early projects, it replaced an area of run-down, overcrowded, squalid dwellings on the fringes of the downtown area.
perimeter, periphery, border, borderline, margin, rim, outer edge, edge, extremity, limit;
outer limits, limits, borders, bounds, outskirts
literary marge
unconventional, unorthodox, alternative, avant-garde, experimental, innovative, left-field, innovatory, radical, extreme;
off-off Broadway
informal offbeat, way out
3.1 (the fringe) The unconventional, extreme, or marginal wing of a group or sphere of activity: the lunatic fringe of American political life rap music is no longer something on the fringe
More example sentences
  • They're not going to listen to people on the fringe.
  • Chun Sue fashions herself as renegade, on the fringe of culture.
  • Yet every radical justice movement-from abolition to suffrage-started on the fringe.
4A band of contrasting brightness or darkness produced by diffraction or interference of light.
Example sentences
  • According to Young, diffraction fringes occur as a result of interference between the incident wave and a wave arising from the edge of a diffracting aperture or body.
  • The rainbows, often referred to as ‘the glory’, are simply the chromatic fringes developed by diffraction at the margin of the shadow, but it's a startling spectacle.
  • During this process, the beams from the reference surface and test sample interfere, producing dark and bright fringes.
4.1A strip of false color in an optical image.
Example sentences
  • The device can produce high-contrast optical fringes.
  • In those days such simple telescopes tended to produce poor images with colored fringes around celestial objects.
  • But being me I kept being distracted by the fringe of the projected image.
5North American short for fringe benefit.
Example sentences
  • Clark observes that other factors, such as the current exchange rates, competitive wages and lower fringes, also play into the picture.


Not part of the mainstream; unconventional, peripheral, or extreme: fringe theater
More example sentences
  • Roughly ten days after beginning your fringe theatre experience, you return to the rest of your life, eager to re-orient yourself.
  • Start getting experience with fringe shows and repertory theatres, particularly those with young designer programmes.
  • No one would claim these views represent mainstream opinion - and fringe groups often try to hijack the news agenda through co-ordinated letter writing campaigns.

verb (fringes, fringing, fringed)

[with object]
1Decorate (clothing or material) with a fringe: a rich robe of gold, fringed with black velvet
More example sentences
  • Painted dragons hold up these canvasses, just as the carved silvered and tinted flying dragons support the blue silk satin window draperies, fringed with gold tassels.
  • This frame has a leather mat and hanging strap, and is fringed with scrap yarn.
  • It was pulled tight over my stomach and bust, and was fringed with white fluff on the hem of the dress and ends of the sleeves.
trim, edge, hem, border, bind, braid;
decorate, adorn, ornament, embellish, finish
archaic purfle
1.1Form a border around (something): the sea is fringed by palm trees
More example sentences
  • And outside only a bird's mournful cry broke the stillness of the timeless, winding country lanes and mile upon rolling mile of flat farm land fringed by the sea.
  • Columbia University walkways are still fringed with snow from late winter storms.
  • However, they're fringed with mature cherry trees.
border, edge, bound, skirt, line, surround, enclose, encircle, circle, girdle, encompass, ring
literary gird
1.2 (as adjective fringed) (Of a plant or animal) having a natural border of hair or fiber.
Example sentences
  • There is a large, branched tentacle above each eye, adding to the fish's somewhat comical appearance, and a very much smaller fringed tentacle on the nostril beneath each eye.
  • With its phenomenal fringed and ruffled petals and velvety purple-black color, this is a tulip that stands out in any garden.
  • It is characterized with slender, brown-yellow bugs with fringed wings thriving in flower buds.



Example sentences
  • This staged process will slowly ease a fringed hairstyle to one that is fringeless.
  • From sea turtles to fringeless white orchids, native species are declining at alarming rates as their natural habitats are lost or degraded.
  • Several of these species are threatened and uncommon in Maryland, including the pygmy shrew, the purple fringeless orchid and the lobed spleen wart.


Pronunciation: /ˈfrinjē/
Example sentences
  • The delegates didn't have time for their fringy nonsense, the press didn't care, and the protesters were not serious.
  • Rachael had now put on a black skirt, with a fringy sea-blue v-neck top, and was prancing around the room, her arms extended.
  • This shrub offers burgundy-green foliage and hot pink, fringy blooms primarily in late winter-spring.


Middle English: from Old French frenge, based on late Latin fimbria, earlier a plural noun meaning 'fibers, shreds'.

Words that rhyme with fringe

binge, cringe, hinge, impinge, singe, springe, swinge, syringe, tinge, twinge, whinge

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: fringe

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