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90s Slang You Should Know


[fret-fuh l] /ˈfrɛt fəl/
disposed or quick to fret; irritable or peevish.
Also, fretsome
[fret-suh m] /ˈfrɛt səm/ (Show IPA)
Origin of fretful
First recorded in 1585-95; fret1 + -ful
Related forms
fretfully, adverb
fretfulness, noun
unfretful, adjective
unfretfully, adverb
petulant, querulous, impatient, testy. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for fretful
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • On a sofa in the room lay Albert Tamlyn; a lad of sixteen with a fretful countenance and rumpled hair.

    Johnny Ludlow, Third Series Mrs. Henry Wood
  • A month went by, and old Mrs. Shimerda began to get fretful.

    My Antonia Willa Cather
  • From beneath that same blanket came the gentle and fretful moanings of the old cripple.

    The Laughing Cavalier Baroness Orczy
  • "Nothing but things that I can't do," was the fretful answer.

  • But all was vain and troubled and misty in my mind, and love—or its fretful changeling—weighed on my heart heavily.

    The Little Red Foot Robert W. Chambers
  • He was fretful, he said, because we were sure to be terribly disillusioned.

    Penguin Persons & Peppermints Walter Prichard Eaton
  • They were inclined to be fretful, but he gave them no chance to gain the mastery.

    Dave Porter in the Far North Edward Stratemeyer
British Dictionary definitions for fretful


peevish, irritable, or upset
Derived Forms
fretfully, adverb
fretfulness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for fretful

1590s, from fret (v.) + -ful. Related: Fretfully.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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