1. A defensive barrier of pointed inclined stakes or barbed wire.
2. A ruff for the neck worn in the 1500s.
[French, from Middle French, from Old French, mesentery of a calf or lamb eaten as food (a ruff being so called in reference to the pleated folds of the mesentery), from fraiser, fraser, to mash, smash with the palm of the hand (in order to remove the tough outer membrane from a fava bean, the mesentery being called fraise in Old French because of its resemblance to the membrane removed in this way), from Vulgar Latin *frēsāre, to mash, from Latin frēsa, crushed, mashed (as in faba frēsa, mashed fava bean), from feminine of frēsus, past participle of frendere, to crush; see FRENUM.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.