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From Middle English framen, fremen, fremmen (to construct, build, strengthen, refresh, perform, execute, profit, avail), from Old English framian, fremian, fremman (to profit, avail, advance, perform, promote, execute, commit, do), from Proto-Germanic *framjaną (to perform, promote), from Proto-Indo-European *promo- (front, forward). Cognate with Low German framen (to commit, effect), Danish fremme (to promote, further, perform), Swedish främja (to promote, encourage, forster), Icelandic fremja (to commit). More at from.



frame (third-person singular simple present frames, present participle framing, simple past and past participle framed)

  1. (transitive, obsolete) To strengthen; refresh; support.
    At last, with creeping crooked pace forth came / An old, old man, with beard as white as snow, / That on a staffe his feeble steps did frame. ― Spenser.
  2. (transitive, obsolete) To execute; perform.
    The silken tackle / Swell with the touches of those flower-soft hands / That yarely frame the office. ― Shakespeare.
  3. (transitive, obsolete) To cause; to bring about; to produce.
    • Shakespeare
      Fear frames disorder, and disorder wounds.
  4. (intransitive, obsolete) To profit; avail.
  5. (intransitive, obsolete) To fit; accord.
    When thou hast turned them all ways, and done thy best to hew them and to make them frame, thou must be fain to cast them out. ― Tyndale.
  6. (intransitive, obsolete) To succeed in doing or trying to do something; manage.
  7. (transitive) To fit, as for a specific end or purpose; make suitable or comfortable; adapt; adjust.
    • John Lyly
      I will hereafter frame myself to be coy.
    • Shakespeare
      frame my face to all occasions
    • Landor
      We may in some measure frame our minds for the reception of happiness.
    • I. Taylor
      The human mind is framed to be influenced.
  8. (transitive) To construct by fitting or uniting together various parts; fabricate by union of constituent parts.
  9. (transitive) To bring or put into form or order; adjust the parts or elements of; compose; contrive; plan; devise.
    • Sir Philip Sidney
      He began to frame the loveliest countenance he could.
    • I. Watts
      How many excellent reasonings are framed in the mind of a man of wisdom and study in a length of years.
  10. (transitive) Of a constructed object such as a building, to put together the structural elements.
    Once we finish framing the house, we'll hang tin on the roof.
  11. (transitive) Of a picture such as a painting or photograph, to place inside a decorative border.
  12. (transitive) To position visually within a fixed boundary.
    The director frames the fishing scene very well.
  13. (transitive) To construct in words so as to establish a context for understanding or interpretation.
    How would you frame your accomplishments?
    The way the opposition has framed the argument makes it hard for us to win.
  14. (transitive, criminology) Conspire to incriminate falsely a presumably innocent person.
    The gun had obviously been placed in her car in an effort to frame her.
  15. (intransitive, dialectal, mining) To wash ore with the aid of a frame.
  16. (intransitive, dialectal) To move.
    An oath, and a threat to set Throttler on me if I did not frame off, rewarded my perseverance. ― E. Brontë.
  17. (intransitive, obsolete) To proceed; to go.
    • Shakespeare
      The beauty of this sinful dame / Made many princes thither frame.


  • (conspire to incriminate): fit up

Derived terms[edit]



A picture frame.
A bicycle frame (diamond frame).

frame (plural frames)

  1. The structural elements of a building or other constructed object.
    Now that the frame is complete, we can start on the walls.
  2. The structure of a person's body.
    His starved flesh hung loosely on his once imposing frame.
  3. A rigid, generally rectangular mounting for paper, canvas or other flexible material.
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 10, The Mirror and the Lamp:
      He looked round the poor room, at the distempered walls, and the bad engravings in meretricious frames, the crinkly paper and wax flowers on the chiffonier; and he thought of a room like Father Bryan's, with panelling, with cut glass, with tulips in silver pots, such a room as he had hoped to have for his own.
    The painting was housed in a beautifully carved frame.
  4. A piece of photographic film containing an image.
    • 12 July 2012, Sam Adams, AV Club Ice Age: Continental Drift
      Jokes are recycled so frequently, it’s as if comedy writing was eating a hole in the ozone layer: If the audience had a nickel for every time a character on one side of the frame says something could never happen as it simultaneously happens on the other side of the frame, they’d have enough to pay the surcharge for the movie’s badly implemented 3-D.
    A film projector shows many frames in a single second.
  5. A context for understanding or interpretation.
    In this frame, it's easy to ask the question that the investigators missed.
  6. (snooker) A complete game of snooker, from break-off until all the balls (or as many as necessary to win) have been potted.
  7. (networking) An independent chunk of data sent over a network.
  8. (bowling) A set of balls whose results are added together for scoring purposes. Usually two balls, but only one ball in the case of a strike, and three balls in the case of a strike or a spare in the last frame of a game.
  9. (philately) The outer decorated portion of a stamp's image, often repeated on several issues although the inner picture may change.
  10. (film, animation) A division of time on a multimedia timeline, such as 1/30th of a second.
  11. (Internet) An individually scrollable region of a webpage.
  12. (baseball, slang) An inning.


  • 1696, William Stephens, An Account of the Growth of Deism in England, page 17:
    ...It regulates and governs the Passions of the Mind, and brings them into due moderation and frame...


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

Derived terms[edit]




frame n (plural frames, diminutive framepje n)

  1. (snooker) frame