fray at the edges

fray at the edges

or

fray around the edges

If something or someone frays at the edges or frays around the edges, they gradually become weaker or less successful. The government's army has begun to fray at the edges. By this time, their partnership had begun to fray around the edges. Note: You can also talk about something being frayed at the edges or frayed around the edges. At 72, his voice is sometimes a little frayed around the edges, but that just adds to its charm. Note: If a piece of cloth or rope frays, its threads or fibres start to come apart.
See also: edge, fray

ˌfray at/around the ˈedges/ˈseams

start to come apart or to fail: Support for the leader was fraying at the edges.
If cloth frays, the threads in it start to come apart.
See also: around, edge, fray, seam
References in periodicals archive ?
Laidlaw, though, ensured his team was not behind for long with two more flawless kicks as Japanese discipline - so clean against South Africa - began to fray at the edges.
This town will fray at the edges because we have not got the money," he said.
Crown were beginning to fray at the edges allowing the Walton attack to press home their advantage.
As we approach the first anniversary of this coalition, isn't the truth that it is already beginning to fray at the edges as both parties realise that a marriage of convenience is no substitute for voting for what you believe in?
Murray was playing better and with more authority while Monfils was beginning to fray at the edges.
These reinforcing effects mean that our social fabric can fray at the edges, like a yarn that comes loose at the end of a crocheted sweater," said Cacioppo, the Tiffany and Margaret Blake Distinguished Service Professor in Psychology.
As secrets fester and are revealed, the seemingly close-knit Bramble family begins to fray at the edges.
Their psychological head-to-head is the centrepiece of this tense, claustrophobic thriller as Hearst's story begins to fray at the edges.
And don't forget speaking engagements, in which anecdotes from the arena of competition can be told until they fray at the edges.
AN oddball love story by the popular Irish novelist hints that he's starting to fray at the edges.