[ frit-er ]
/ ˈfrɪt ər /

verb (used with object)

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.

verb (used without object)

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 fritter

1720–30; earlier fitter, derivative of fit (Old English fitt) a part


1 dissipate, frivol away, idle away.

Related forms

frit·ter·er, nounun·frit·tered, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for fritter away (1 of 2)


/ (ˈfrɪtə) /

verb (tr)

(usually foll by away) to waste or squanderto fritter away time
to break or tear into small pieces; shred


a small piece; shred

Derived Forms

fritterer, noun

Word Origin for fritter

C18: probably from obsolete fitter to break into small pieces, ultimately from Old English fitt a piece

British Dictionary definitions for fritter away (2 of 2)


/ (ˈfrɪtə) /


a piece of food, such as apple or clam, that is dipped in batter and fried in deep fat

Word Origin for fritter

C14: from Old French friture, from Latin frictus fried, roasted, from frīgere to fry, parch
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

Idioms and Phrases with fritter away

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.”

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.