fret·​ful | \ ˈfret-fəl How to pronounce fretful (audio) \

Definition of fretful

: disposed to fret : irritable, restless

Other Words from fretful

fretfully \ ˈfret-​fə-​lē How to pronounce fretful (audio) \ adverb
fretfulness noun

Examples of fretful in a Sentence

He fell into a fretful sleep.
Recent Examples on the Web Andy García takes on the fretful father role previously played by Spencer Tracy and Steve Martin in this romantic comedy remake centered on a Cuban American dad grappling with his daughter’s upcoming nuptials. Daniel Arkin, NBC News, 19 May 2022 Office landlords and downtown business organizations fretful about the slow pace of tenants’ return are trying to pick up on the Wednesday mojo by holding special events. Peter Grant, WSJ, 11 May 2022 Many fretful glances ensue, but not from Robert’s wife Cora (Elizabeth McGovern), who maintains a beatific smile even while worrying over her own health scare. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 25 Apr. 2022 One of them has to crash, and my money’s on him — a nervous, fretful mess, undone by my mother’s break from reality. Longreads, 20 Apr. 2022 His shooting, in 1968, marked the end of something both for Warhol, who grew understandably fretful as a person, and for the culture, including the artistic avant-garde in which Warhol worked. The New Yorker, 20 Apr. 2022 Meetings are held about how and whether to respond; fretful talent partners must be reassured. New York Times, 17 Apr. 2022 Honestly, the most fretful part of the weekend centered around the 25-year-old kid facing shiny new pressure with a strangely fading fastball. Bill Plaschke, Los Angeles Times, 10 Apr. 2022 Smith, who owns the child care center, made her rounds from classroom to classroom on a late March day, picking up a fretful baby in one and pausing to admire a pretty picture in another. Sarah Ladd, The Courier-Journal, 7 Apr. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fretful.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of fretful

1594, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of fretful was in 1594

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Last Updated

23 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Fretful.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for fretful


fret·​ful | \ ˈfret-fəl How to pronounce fretful (audio) \

Kids Definition of fretful

: irritated and worried a fretful passenger

Other Words from fretful

fretfully \ -​fə-​lē \ adverb


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