- to squander or disperse piecemeal; waste little by little (usually followed by away): to fritter away one's money; to fritter away an afternoon.
- to break or tear into small pieces or shreds.
- to dwindle, shrink, degenerate, etc. (often followed by away): to watch one's fortune fritter away.
- to separate or break into fragments: a plastic material having a tendency to fritter.
- a small piece, fragment, or shred.
Origin of fritter1
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
- (usually foll by away) to waste or squanderto fritter away time
- to break or tear into small pieces; shred
- a small piece; shred
- a piece of food, such as apple or clam, that is dipped in batter and fried in deep fat
Word Origin and History for fritter away
"whittle away," 1728, from fritters "fragment or shred," possibly from a noun sense, but this is not recorded as early as the verb; perhaps an alteration of 16c. fitters "fragments or pieces," perhaps ultimately from Old French fraiture "a breaking," from Latin fractura. Or perhaps from a Germanic source (cf. Middle High German vetze "clothes, rags").
"fried batter," late 14c., from Old French friture "fritter, pancake, something fried" (12c.), from Late Latin frictura "a frying," from frigere "to roast, fry" (see fry (v.)).
Idioms and Phrases with fritter away
Squander or waste little by little; wear down gradually. For example, She frittered away her salary on odds and ends and saved nothing. This expression was first recorded in Alexander Pope's Dunciad (1728): “How prologues into prefaces decay, And these to notes are fritter'd quite away.”