Fringe vs. Margin

What's the Difference?

Fringe and margin are both terms used to describe the outer edges or boundaries of something. However, they have slightly different connotations. Fringe typically refers to the outermost part of a group or society, often associated with unconventional or extreme ideas. On the other hand, margin usually refers to the edge or border of something, such as a page or a physical space. While both terms imply a sense of being on the outskirts or periphery, fringe suggests a more radical or alternative perspective, while margin is more neutral in its connotation.


Photo by Susan Wilkinson on Unsplash
DefinitionOuter edge or peripheryEdge or border of something
PositionOutside or beyond the mainstreamOutside or beyond the central or dominant area
SignificanceMay represent innovation or unconventional ideasMay represent exclusion or lack of influence
AssociationCan be associated with creativity or alternative perspectivesCan be associated with insignificance or unimportance
Photo by Utsman Media on Unsplash

Further Detail


Fringe and margin are two terms that are often used interchangeably, but they actually have distinct meanings. Fringe refers to the outer edge or border of something, while margin refers to the space around the edges of a page or document. In other words, fringe is more about the physical boundary of an object, while margin is about the space surrounding it.

Physical Attributes

When it comes to physical attributes, fringe and margin can be differentiated by their appearance. Fringe is often seen as decorative or ornamental, adding flair to an object or garment. For example, a scarf with fringe along the edges gives it a bohemian or playful look. On the other hand, margin is more about practicality and functionality. In a document, margins are used to create space for notes, corrections, or simply to make the text easier to read.


Both fringe and margin have specific uses in various contexts. Fringe is commonly found in fashion, where it is used to embellish clothing, accessories, or home decor items. It can also be used metaphorically to refer to something on the outskirts or periphery of a group or society. Margin, on the other hand, is primarily used in publishing and design to ensure that text and images are properly aligned and formatted on a page. It is also used in finance to describe the difference between revenue and expenses.


Symbolically, fringe and margin can represent different concepts or ideas. Fringe is often associated with creativity, individuality, and nonconformity. It can symbolize breaking away from the norm and embracing uniqueness. Margin, on the other hand, is linked to order, structure, and organization. It represents boundaries and limits, as well as the space needed for reflection and contemplation.

Historical Significance

The use of fringe and margin has evolved over time and has different historical significance. Fringe has been used in various cultures and time periods as a symbol of status, wealth, or spirituality. For example, Native American tribes used fringe on clothing and accessories to signify tribal affiliation or social standing. Margin, on the other hand, has a more practical origin, dating back to the invention of writing and the need for space around text to prevent smudging or damage.


In conclusion, fringe and margin may seem similar at first glance, but they have distinct attributes and meanings. Fringe is more about decoration and creativity, while margin is about functionality and organization. Understanding the differences between these two terms can help us appreciate their unique roles in various aspects of our lives, from fashion to publishing to finance.

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