fret

1
[fret]

verb (used without object), fret·ted, fret·ting.

verb (used with object), fret·ted, fret·ting.

noun


Origin of fret

1
before 900; Middle English freten, Old English fretan to eat up, consume; cognate with Old Saxon fretan, Gothic fraitan, Old High German frezzan (German fressen)
Related formsfret·ter, noun

Synonyms for fret

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


British Dictionary definitions for fretter

fret

1

verb frets, fretting or fretted

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

noun

a state of irritation or anxiety
the result of fretting; corrosion
a hole or channel caused by fretting

Word Origin for fret

Old English fretan to eat; related to Old High German frezzan, Gothic fraitan, Latin peredere

fret

2

noun

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

verb frets, fretting or fretted

(tr) to ornament with fret or fretwork
Derived Formsfretless, adjective

Word Origin for fret

C14: from Old French frete interlaced design used on a shield, probably of Germanic origin

fret

3

noun

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
Derived Formsfretless, adjective

Word Origin for fret

C16: of unknown origin

fret

4

noun

short for sea fret
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

Word Origin and History for fretter

fret

v.

"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.

fret

n.

"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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper