1. a trimming, as a strip of cloth or lace, gathered at one edge and left loose at the other; ruffle.
  2. something resembling such a trimming, as the fringe of hair on the chest of some dogs.
  3. affectation of manner, style, etc.
  4. something superfluous.
  5. Photography. wrinkling or loosening of an emulsion at the edges, usually due to excessively high temperature during developing.

verb (used with object)

  1. to trim or ornament with a frill or frills.
  2. to form into a frill.

verb (used without object)

  1. Photography. (of an emulsion) to become wrinkled or loose.


  1. a gathered, ruched, or pleated strip of cloth sewn on at one edge only, as on garments, as ornament, or to give extra body
  2. a ruff of hair or feathers around the neck of a dog or bird or a fold of skin around the neck of a reptile or amphibian
  3. (often capital) a variety of domestic fancy pigeon having a ruff of curled feathers on the chest and cropFull name: oriental frill
  4. photog a wrinkling or loosening of the emulsion at the edges of a negative or print
  5. (often plural) informal a superfluous or pretentious thing or manner; affectationhe made a plain speech with no frills


  1. (tr) to adorn or fit with a frill or frills
  2. to form into a frill or frills
  3. (intr) photog (of an emulsion) to develop a frill

“wavy ornamental edging,” 1801 (with a doubtful attestation from 1590s), of uncertain origin despite much speculation [see OED]; figurative sense of “useless ornament” first recorded 1893. The verb meaning “to furnish with a frill” is recorded in 1570s. Related: Frilled.

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