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

Definition of fretful

: disposed to fret : irritable, restless

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Other Words from fretful

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

Examples of fretful in a Sentence

He fell into a fretful sleep.
Recent Examples on the Web Despite what television and fretful IT guys have taught us, bringing magnets close to the hard drive might not effectively corrupt the data, either. Corinne Iozzio, Scientific American, "How to Destroy a Hard Drive—Permanently," 18 Dec. 2015 Happily for Alabama, and its fretful governor at Cahaba, the state suffered no political penalty for the Census debacle when the apportionment of the U.S. House of Representatives got under way in 1822. al, "Alabama’s mortifying miscount of 1820 Census; and the tally is still wrong," 28 Dec. 2019 Initially, Kotb was fretful about telling Schiffman about her desire to adopt. Perri Ormont Blumberg, Southern Living, "Hoda Kotb on Why She's a Better Mom in Her 50s," 25 Oct. 2019 Israel is distinctly fretful at the sight of an American ally so swiftly thrown aside. The Economist, "Another fine mess Donald Trump triggers a Turkish invasion and trashes the national interest," 17 Oct. 2019 Their fretful oversight never applies to facilities that provide statistically more dangerous services such as dental surgery, colonoscopies and assistance in live births. Eric Zorn,, "Column: The Supreme Court has signaled it’s ready to spring the TRAP and gut abortion rights," 10 Oct. 2019 Although Mr Johnson has required all his ministers to sign up to the possibility, several are known to have been fretful about the consequences, including Michael Gove, who is in charge of preparing for it. The Economist, "Can Parliament stop no-deal?," 8 Aug. 2019 Two of his fretful clients went so far as to pull all of their money out of the market, against his advice. Robert Weisman,, "As baby boomers watch stocks swing wildly, their future seems less secure," 3 Sep. 2019 By the end of the section, the bully named Smurf seems less like a real person and more like a spectre: the personification of old racist ideas, come to life in the imagination of a fretful future scholar in Queens. Kelefa Sanneh, The New Yorker, "The Fight to Redefine Racism," 12 Aug. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of fretful

1594, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for fretful

Time Traveler

The first known use of fretful was in 1594

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Statistics for fretful

Last Updated

8 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Fretful.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for fretful


How to pronounce fretful (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of fretful

: upset and worried
: not relaxing or restful


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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More from Merriam-Webster on fretful

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for fretful

Spanish Central: Translation of fretful

Nglish: Translation of fretful for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of fretful for Arabic Speakers

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