fray at the edges

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fray at the edges

1. Literally, to become worn along the edges, as of fabric. I think it's time for us to get a new blanket—this one has frayed at the edges.
2. To become less successful or harmonious. Our roommate relationship is starting to fray at the edges now that Pat has begun leaving his stuff, including dirty dishes, all over the apartment.
See also: edge, fray
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
See also:
References in periodicals archive ?
The housing sector has otherwise shown some fraying at the edges given past excesses and higher trending mortgage rates prior to the stock market correction.
"At a time like this when the country is fraying at the edges, where we have more homeless people than we've had for decades on the streets, we need to be kinder to people, we need more kindness."
The reality is that the cartel's increased fraying at the edges could threaten its very existence.
in Europe and East Asia has been fraying at the edges for some time now.
Using pinking shears to cut your hessian and ribbon will help to stop them fraying at the edges.
When your composure is fraying at the edges, you tend to play percentages and hope the ball sticks to the line you start it out on.
Nowadays, she's a bit of a rock goddess, fraying at the edges, and its not just Parallel Lines running across her face; there's the odd wrinkle ot nine but for a woman well into her forties she's still...
Already we see the health service fraying at the edges because of false economies and a preference for providing opportunities for private provision.
After seven decades of mostly peaceful integration, Western Europe is fraying at the edges. The Arab world remains in turmoil.
Spending last week in Cyprus, where the Troika (European Central Bank, European Commission and IMF) was due to agree a bailout, gave reminder that Europe is not only fractured in its centre, as France and Germany argue over banking union, but also fraying at the edges. It's still not a great advertisement for monetary union.
She wants to show support for Samaras, a fellow conservative, as he struggles to impose more cuts on a society fraying at the edges after five years of recession.
Conservative Prime Minister Antonis Samaras's uneasy coalition of left and right is under intense public pressure to ease the burden on a society that is fraying at the edges. But it faces fierce resistance from sceptical European partners led by paymaster Germany.