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

Moments of humor peek through in the writing, but the overarching mood is one of angsty, fretful suspense. Sophie Gilbert, The Atlantic, "A Supernatural Spy Story Goes Dark in The Rook," 2 July 2019 As Clive in Act One, Clayman is the embodiment of the hearty, complacent colonialist, and then perfectly captures Betty’s fretful uncertainty in Act Two. Don Aucoin,, "The sun sets on the British empire in Nora Theatre Company’s ‘Cloud Nine’," 20 June 2019 The future of the Democratic Party, and by extension the country, may well depend on whether the party is finally willing to ditch its fretful posture of peacemaking and give war a chance. Alex Pareene, The New Republic, "In search of the Democratic Party's fighting spirit," 20 June 2019 Maurizio Sarri is set to return to Italy to take the vacant managerial role at Juventus and bring the curtain down on a fretful one-year stay at Chelsea., "Juventus move concludes Sarri's rocky stint at Chelsea," 14 June 2019 That has provided an alternative for investors who are fretful about the equity market, which was previously not an option, according to Mr. Hui. Mike Bird, WSJ, "Rising Rates Threaten a Bull-Market Mantra," 30 Oct. 2018 Journalists and news organizations have been worried, fretful, since your changes were introduced in January. Nicholas Thompson, WIRED, "How Facebook Checks Facts and Polices Hate Speech," 6 July 2018 That plot twist aside, though, the show put bipolar disorder mostly on the back burner in Seasons 5 and 6, keeping Carrie on her meds and painting her as more fretful and anguished than erratic. Mike Hale, New York Times, "‘Homeland’ Season 7: Once Again, It’s All Up to Carrie," 9 Feb. 2018 And so, fretful teenager, the tables have been turned. Matthew Diebel, USA TODAY, "Wear glasses? Study suggests you might be smarter than those who don't," 31 May 2018

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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Statistics for fretful

Last Updated

12 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for fretful

The first known use of fretful was in 1594

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More Definitions for fretful



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

Spanish Central: Translation of fretful

Nglish: Translation of fretful for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of fretful for Arabic Speakers

Comments on fretful

What made you want to look up fretful? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


something desired as essential

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