Definition of fringe in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /frɪn(d)ʒ/


1An ornamental border of threads left loose or formed into tassels or twists, used to edge clothing or material: a long grey skirt with a fringe the fringes of a prayer shawl
More 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, hem, trimming, frill, flounce, ruffle;
archaic purfle
2chiefly British The front part of someone’s hair, cut so as to hang over the forehead: she smiled as she pushed her fringe back out of her eyes
More 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 fibres in an animal or plant: a long fringe of hair on the tail
More 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, marches
literary marge, bourn, skirt
rare ambit
unconventional, unorthodox, offbeat, alternative, avant-garde, experimental, innovative, innovatory, radical, extreme;
peripheral, unofficial;
North American  left-field, off Broadway
informal way out
3.1 (the Fringe) A secondary festival on the periphery of the Edinburgh Festival: she became noted for her work on the Fringe
More example sentences
  • First there was the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, then the Edinburgh Film Festival, followed by the Edinburgh Television Festival and the Edinburgh Book Festival.
  • Why is there no dance or drama related to it on the Fringe or at the Festival?
  • Marenghi won the Perrier Comedy Award, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival's most prestigious prize.
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 colour 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. we offer the highest salary and fringes in the country
More example sentences
  • Clark observes that other factors, such as the current exchange rates, competitive wages and lower fringes, also play into the picture.

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, hem, edge, border, rim, bind, braid;
decorate, adorn, ornament, embellish, finish
archaic purfle
rare befringe, befrill
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, hem, flank, verge, surround, enclose, encircle, circle, encompass, ring, circumscribe
literary gird, girdle, engird
rare compass, environ
1.2 (as adjective fringed) (Of a plant or animal) having a border of hair or fibre: the fringed green leaves
More 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: /ˈfrɪndʒi/
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 'fibres, shreds'.

Words that rhyme with fringe

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

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: fringe

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.