1. A decorative border or edging of hanging threads, cords, or strips, often attached to a separate band.
2. Something that resembles such a border or edging.
3. A marginal, peripheral, or secondary part: "They like to hang out on the geographical fringes, the seedy outposts" (James Atlas).
4. Those members of a group or political party holding extreme views: the lunatic fringe.
5. Any of the light or dark bands produced by the diffraction or interference of light.
6. A fringe benefit.
tr.v. fringed, fring·ing, fring·es
1. To decorate with or as if with a fringe: The weaver fringed the edge of the scarf.
2. To serve as a fringe to: Ferns fringed the pool.
[Middle English frenge, from Old French, from Vulgar Latin *frimbia, alteration of Late Latin fimbria; see FIMBRIA.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. 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.