Meaning of “fray around/at the edges” in the English Dictionary

british dictionary

"fray around/at the edges" in British English

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fray around/at the edges

to start to become less effective or successful:

Without the unifying forces of the army and the monarchy, it seems, the nation would begin to fray at the edges.

(Definition of “fray around/at the edges” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)