early 14c., "ornamental bordering; material for a fringe," from Old French frenge "thread, strand, fringe, hem, border" (early 14c.), from Vulgar Latin *frimbia, metathesis of Late Latin fimbria, from Latin fimbriae (plural) "fibers, threads, fringe," which is of uncertain origin. Meaning "a border, edge" is from 1640s. Figurative sense of "outer edge, margin," is first recorded 1894. As an adjective by 1809. Related: Fringes. Fringe benefits is recorded from 1952.