- to soak in water or expose to moisture, as flax or hemp, to facilitate the removal of the fiber from the woody tissue by partial rotting.
Origin of ret
Examples from the Web for retting
The difference in color is due chiefly to the process of “retting.”Textiles
William H. Dooley
The fiber is separated from the plant by retting, beating, etc.
When the retting is complete, the flax is set up in sheaves to dry.
This loss is greater the finer the stems, and the longer the retting.
Then the flax is bound in bundles for the next process, which is retting.Clothing and Health
- (tr) to moisten or soak (flax, hemp, jute, etc) to promote bacterial action in order to facilitate separation of the fibres from the woody tissue by beating
Word Origin and History for retting
"to soak stems of fibrous plants (flax, hemp, jute, etc.) to soften them," mid-15c., probably from Middle Dutch roten (or an unrecorded cognate Old Norse word that is related to Norwegian røyta, Swedish röta, Danish røde); considered to be related to Old English rotian "to rot" (see rot (v.)), but the vowel is difficult.