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ret

[ret]
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verb (used with object), ret·ted, ret·ting.
  1. 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.
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Origin of ret

1400–50; late Middle English reten, retten; cognate with Dutch reten (compare Dutch roten, German rössen, Swedish röta); akin to rot
Related formsun·ret·ted, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for retting

permeate, soak, saturate, soften, mash, steep, ret, emaciate

Examples from the Web for retting

Historical Examples of 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.

    Textiles and Clothing

    Kate Heintz Watson

  • When the retting is complete, the flax is set up in sheaves to dry.

    Textiles and Clothing

    Kate Heintz Watson

  • 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.


British Dictionary definitions for retting

ret

verb rets, retting or retted
  1. (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
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Word Origin for ret

C15: of Germanic origin; related to Middle Dutch reeten, Swedish röta, German rösten; see rot 1
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 retting

ret

v.

"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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper