fret

verb (1)
\ˈfret \
fretted; fretting

Definition of fret 

(Entry 1 of 6)

transitive verb

1a : to eat or gnaw into : corrode also : fray The acid fretted the metal.

b : rub, chafe The harness strap was fretting the horse.

c : to make by wearing away a substance the stream fretted a channel

2 : to cause to suffer emotional strain : vex don't you fret yourself about me— J. C. Powys

3 : to pass (time) in fretting a poor player who struts and frets his hour upon the stage— William Shakespeare

4 : agitate, ripple fret the surface of the lake

intransitive verb

1a : to eat into something

b : to affect something as if by gnawing or biting : grate the … urgent voice fretted at his nerves— Graham Greene

2a : wear, corrode Marble frets away due to the rain.

b : chafe His back where the harness rubbed began to fret.

c : fray sense 1

3a : to become vexed or worried fretting over the high cost of feeding their families— Vance Packard

b of running water : to become agitated a brook fretting over rocks

fret

noun (1)

Definition of fret (Entry 2 of 6)

1a : the action of wearing away : erosion

b : a worn or eroded spot

2 : an agitation of mind : irritation

fret

verb (2)
fretted; fretting

Definition of fret (Entry 3 of 6)

transitive verb

1a : to decorate with interlaced designs

b : to form a pattern upon

2 : to enrich with embossed or pierced carved patterns

fret

noun (2)

Definition of fret (Entry 4 of 6)

1 : an ornamental network especially : a medieval metallic or jeweled net for a woman's headdress

2 : an ornament or ornamental work often in relief consisting of small straight bars intersecting one another in right or oblique angles

fret

noun (3)

Definition of fret (Entry 5 of 6)

: one of a series of ridges fixed across the fingerboard of a stringed musical instrument (such as a guitar)

fret

verb (3)
fretted; fretting

Definition of fret (Entry 6 of 6)

transitive verb

: to press (the strings of a stringed instrument) against the frets

Illustration of fret

Illustration of fret

Noun (2)

fret 2

In the meaning defined above

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Other Words from fret

Noun (3)

fretless adjective
fretted adjective

Fret and Eating

Since its first use centuries ago, fret has referred to an act of eating, especially when done by animals—in particular, small ones. You might speak, for example, of moths fretting your clothing. Like eat, fret also developed figurative senses to describe actions that corrode or wear away. A river could be said to "fret away" at its banks or something might be said to be "fretted out" with time or age. Fret can also be applied to emotional experiences so that something that "eats away at us" might be said to "fret the heart or mind." This use developed into the specific meaning of "vex" or "worry" with which we often use fret today.

First Known Use of fret

Verb (1)

12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Noun (1)

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb (2)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun (2)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (3)

circa 1500, in the meaning defined above

Verb (3)

1602, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for fret

Verb (1)

Middle English, to devour, fret, from Old English fretan to devour; akin to Old High German frezzan to devour, ezzan to eat — more at eat

Noun (1)

see fret entry 1

Verb (2)

Middle English, back-formation from fret, fretted adorned, interwoven, from Anglo-French fretté, past participle of fretter to tie, probably from Vulgar Latin *firmitare, from Latin firmus firm

Noun (3)

perhaps from Middle French frete ferrule, from freter

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Time Traveler for fret

The first known use of fret was in the 12th century

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More Definitions for fret

fret

verb
\ˈfret \
fretted; fretting

Kids Definition of fret

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: worry entry 1 sense 1 … it was a thing which could not be helped, so I seldom fretted about it …— Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee

fret

noun

Kids Definition of fret (Entry 2 of 2)

: an irritated or worried state

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