a. A structure that gives shape or support: the frame of a house.
b. The structure or physique of a human or animal body: a worker's sturdy frame.
c. An open structure or rim for encasing, holding, or bordering: a window frame; the frame of a mirror.
a. A closed, often rectangular border of drawn or printed lines.
b. The edge, usually rectangular, delimiting the boundaries of an image.
c. The bounded area of a visual image, as in photography or film: filled the frame with a cast of thousands.
d. One of the set of still images that constitute a film or video.
e. A single image, as in a comic strip or graphic novel, usually bounded by a rectangular line.
f. Computers A rectangular area in which text or graphics can be shown, especially one of several rectangular areas on a web page displaying different documents simultaneously.
a. A general structure or system: the frame of government.
b. A general state or condition: The news put me into a better frame of mind.
c. A frame of reference.
4. The presentation of events in a narrative work, especially a work of literature or film, such that characters in the narrative exist in isolation, uninfluenced by, unaware of, and unable to interact with the narrator or audience.
a. The context in which discourse occurs.
b. A pattern for a syntactic construction in which one of a group of words can vary.
a. A round or period of play in some games, such as bowling and billiards.
b. Baseball An inning.
7. often frames A pair of eyeglasses, excluding the lenses: had new lenses fitted into an old pair of frames.
8. See cold frame.
9. Informal A frame-up.
10. Obsolete Shape; form.
v. framed, fram·ing, frames
a. To enclose in a frame: frame a painting.
b. To put together the structural parts of; construct the frame of: frame a house.
2. To conceive or design: framed an alternate proposal.
3. To establish the context for and terminology regarding (a subject of discussion or debate), especially so as to exclude an unwanted point of view: The question was framed to draw only one answer.
a. To put into words; formulate: frame a reply.
b. To form (words) silently with the lips.
a. To make up evidence or contrive events so as to incriminate (a person) falsely.
b. To prearrange (a contest) so as to ensure a desired fraudulent outcome; fix: frame a prizefight.
c. Baseball To catch (a pitch) in such a way as to make it appear to have passed through the strike zone.
Archaic To go; proceed: "Frame upstairs, and make little din" (Emily Brontë).
[Middle English, from framen, to make progress, to frame, from Old English framian, to avail, profit, from fram, forward; see FROM.]
frama·ble, framea·ble adj.
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.