From Middle English frisk, from Old French frisque (“lively, jolly, blithe, fine, spruce, gay”), of Germanic origin, perhaps from Middle Dutch frisc (“fresh”) or Old High German frisc (“fresh”), ultimately from Proto-Germanic *friskaz (“fresh”). Cognate with Icelandic frískur (“frisky, fresh”). More at fresh.
Alternative etymology derives frisk from an alteration (due to Old French fresche (“fresh”)) of Old French fricque, frique (“smart, strong, playful, bright”), from Gothic [script needed] (friks, “greedy, hungry”), from Proto-Germanic *frekaz, *frakaz (“greedy, active”), from Proto-Indo-European *preg- (“greedy, fierce”). Cognate with Middle Dutch vrec (“greedy, avaricious”), German frech (“insolent”), Old English frec (“greedy, eager, bold, daring, dangerous”). More at freak.
frisk (plural frisks)
- To frolic, gambol, skip, dance, leap.
- To search somebody by feeling his or her body and clothing.
- The police frisked the suspiciously-acting individual and found a knife as well as a bag of marijuana.
- The term frisk is slightly less formal than search.