• frazzle •
Pronunciation: fræz-êl • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Verb, transitive
Meaning: 1. To wear away at the edges, fray, ravel at the edges. 2. To exhaust physically or emotionally.
Notes: I haven't heard this word in a long time. Growing up in North Carolina, I heard it often, almost every day. When people were dog tired, they would say, "I'm frazzled." It may be used as a noun: you may work yourself into a frazzle or be in a frazzle. The present participle, frazzling, for example, in a frazzling experience, functions as easily as a noun as an adjective.
In Play: When you are unusually tired, you're frazzled: "I slept through most of the movie, I was so frazzled from work." The body isn't the only thing that frazzles easily: "It frazzles my mind to even think about the workout my trainer laid out for me." Now don't forget the first sense of today's word: "Both ends of the rope were frazzled."
Word History: Frazzle seems to be a blend of fray and dialectal fazzle "to ravel", no doubt an offspring of obsolete fasel "to ravel". Fasel was derived from fas "border, fringe", which was faes in Old English. Where faes came from is anyone's guess. We know a little more about fray. It was borrowed from French frayer "to rub" from Old French freiier "to run", a hand-me-down from Latin fricare "to rub". The noun from this verb was frictio(n) "a rubbing down", which English picked up directly from Latin as friction.