- to feel or express worry, annoyance, discontent, or the like: Fretting about the lost ring isn't going to help.
- to cause corrosion; gnaw into something: acids that fret at the strongest metals.
- to make a way by gnawing, corrosion, wearing away, etc.: The river frets at its banks until a new channel is formed.
- to become eaten, worn, or corroded (often followed by away): Limestone slowly frets away under pounding by the wind and rain.
- to move in agitation or commotion, as water: water fretting over the stones of a brook.
- to torment; irritate, annoy, or vex: You mustn't fret yourself about that.
- to wear away or consume by gnawing, friction, rust, corrosives, etc.: the ocean fretting its shores.
- to form or make by wearing away a substance: The river had fretted an underground passage.
- to agitate (water): Strong winds were fretting the channel.
- an irritated state of mind; annoyance; vexation.
- erosion; corrosion; gnawing.
- a worn or eroded place.
Origin of fret1
SynonymsSee more synonyms for fret on Thesaurus.com
- an interlaced, angular design; fretwork.
- an angular design of bands within a border.
- Heraldry. a charge composed of two diagonal strips interlacing with and crossing at the center of a mascle.
- a piece of decoratively pierced work placed in a clock case to deaden the sound of the mechanism.
- to ornament with a fret or fretwork.
Origin of fret2
- any of the ridges of wood, metal, or string, set across the fingerboard of a guitar, lute, or similar instrument, which help the fingers to stop the strings at the correct points.
- to provide with frets.
Origin of fret3
Examples from the Web for fret
There is however a not-paranoid or market-driven reason to fret, albeit a VERY small one.Ding Dong, You Have Lice
October 31, 2013
Even assuming Wyoming is safe, however, Republicans are right to fret.Lean In, Liz Cheney, but Please Don’t Win That Senate Seat
July 18, 2013
In recent weeks, it has been fashionable (and even rational) to fret about the U.S. industrial economy.Data Show U.S. Industry Shrugs off Sandy Effects
December 14, 2012
Not to fret—The Daily Beast breaks down the talking points that will keep things civil while eating your turkey.Thanksgiving Talking Points Guide: Guide to Hot-Button Topics, and Ones to Avoid
November 21, 2012
The “all clear” for many of the 10,000 possibly exposed campers will not be given till early October—a long time to fret.Yosemite Hanta Virus: Nature Strikes Back
September 3, 2012
If, however great the cause, I fret myself I disturb the right conditions.The Conquest of Fear
Do not fret over this: it is so lucky that you will soon be well again.Rico and Wiseli
He who is without expectation cannot fret if nothing comes to him.Pax Vobiscum
Only there is my own choler, which overwhelms me; I fret that I cannot live for a moment happy.His Masterpiece
Well, she'd have to go bankrupt, but she didn't intend to fret about it now.L'Assommoir
- to distress or be distressed; worry
- to rub or wear away
- to irritate or be irritated; feel or give annoyance or vexation
- to eat away or be eaten away by chemical action; corrode
- (intr) (of a road surface) to become loose so that potholes develop; scab
- to agitate (water) or (of water) to be agitated
- (tr) to make by wearing away; erode
- a state of irritation or anxiety
- the result of fretting; corrosion
- a hole or channel caused by fretting
- a repetitive geometrical figure, esp one used as an ornamental border
- such a pattern made in relief and with numerous small openings; fretwork
- heraldry a charge on a shield consisting of a mascle crossed by a saltire
- (tr) to ornament with fret or fretwork
- any of several small metal bars set across the fingerboard of a musical instrument of the lute, guitar, or viol family at various points along its length so as to produce the desired notes when the strings are stopped by the fingers
- short for sea fret
Word Origin and History for fret
"be peevish or worried," early 12c., from Old English fretan "eat, devour" (in Old English used of monsters and Vikings; in Middle English used of animals' eating), from Proto-Germanic compound *fra- "for-" + *etan "to eat" (cf. Dutch vreton, Old High German freggan, German fressen, Gothic fraitan). Transitive sense of "eat away" is from late 12c. Figurative sense of "irritate, worry, eat one's heart out" is c.1200. Modern German still distinguishes essen for humans and fressen for animals. Related: Fretted; fretting. As a noun, from early 15c.
"ornamental interlaced pattern," late 14c., from Old French frete "interlaced work, trellis work," probably from Frankish *fetur or another Germanic source (cf. Old English fetor, Old High German feggara "fetter") perhaps from notion of "decorative anklet," or of materials "bound" together. The other noun, "ridge on the fingerboard of a guitar," is c.1500 of unknown origin but possibly another sense of Old French frete.