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early 14c., "laden" (of vessels), past participle of Middle English fraughten "to load (a ship) with cargo," from fraght "cargo, lading of a ship" (early 13c.), variant of freight; influenced by Middle Dutch vrachten "to load or furnish with cargo," from Proto-Germanic *fra-aihtiz (see freight (n.)). Figurative sense is first attested 1570s.