- frame (v.)
- Old English framian "to profit, be helpful, avail, benefit," from fram "active, vigorous, bold," originally "going forward," from fram "forward; from" (see from).
Influenced by related Old English fremman "help forward, promote, further, do, perform, accomplish," and by Old Norse fremja "to further, execute." Sense focused in Middle English from "make ready" (mid-13c.) to "prepare timber for building" (late 14c.). Meaning "compose, devise" is first attested 1540s.
The criminal slang sense of "blame an innocent person" (1920s) is probably from earlier sense of "plot in secret" (1900), perhaps ultimately from meaning "fabricate a story with evil intent," first attested 1510s. Related: Framed; framing.
- frame (n.)
- c.1200, "profit, benefit;" mid-13c. "composition, plan," from frame (v.) and in part from Scandinavian (Old Norse frami "advancement"). In late 14c. it also meant "the rack."
Meaning "building" is from early 15c.; that of "border or case for a picture or pane of glass" is from c.1600. The meaning "established order, plan" and that of "human body" are both first recorded 1590s. Of bicycles, from 1871; of motor cars, from 1900. Frame of mind is from 1711. Frame of reference is 1897, from mechanics and graphing; the figurative sense is attested from 1924.
- frame (adj.)
- (of buildings), "made of wood," 1790, American English, from frame (n.).