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[frek-uh l] /ˈfrɛk əl/
one of the small, brownish spots on the skin that are caused by deposition of pigment and that increase in number and darken on exposure to sunlight; lentigo.
any small spot or discoloration:
freckles of paint spattered on the floor.
verb (used with object), freckled, freckling.
to cover with freckles; produce freckles on.
verb (used without object), freckled, freckling.
to become freckled.
1350-1400; blend of obsolete frecken freckle (Middle English frekne < Old Norse *frekna; compare freknōttr speckled, Norwegian, Icelandic frekna, Swedish fräkna freckle) and speckle (noun)
Related forms
unfreckled, adjective
well-freckled, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for freckle
  • Tattoos are about the size of a freckle and will remain on your skin for the rest of your life.
  • He's a freckle-faced royal rascal who has led a life of privilege.
  • When you are created at fertilization, your mom gives one of her freckle genes and your dad gives one of his freckle genes.
British Dictionary definitions for freckle


a small brownish spot on the skin: a localized deposit of the pigment melanin, developed by exposure to sunlight Technical name lentigo
any small area of discoloration; a spot
(Austral, slang) the anus
to mark or become marked with freckles or spots
Derived Forms
freckled, freckly, adjective
Word Origin
C14: from Old Norse freknur freckles; related to Swedish fräkne, Danish fregne
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for freckle

late 14c., also frecken, probably from Old Norse freknur (plural) "freckles" (cf. Icelandic frekna, Danish fregne, Swedish frägne "freckle"), from PIE *(s)preg- "to jerk, scatter" (see sprout (v.)). Related: Freckles.


late 14c. (implied in fracled "spotted," from freckle (n.); freckle as a verb is recorded from 1610s. Related: Freckled; freckling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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freckle in Medicine

freckle freck·le (frěk'əl)
A small brownish spot on the skin, often turning darker or increasing in number upon exposure to the sun.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Encyclopedia Article for freckle


a small, brownish, well-circumscribed, stainlike spot on the skin occurring most frequently in red- or sandy-haired individuals. In genetically predisposed individuals who have been exposed to the ultraviolet radiation of sunlight, production of the pigment melanin increases in the pigment cells of the skin (melanocytes); the number of melanocytes does not increase. Freckles do not form on surfaces that have not been exposed to the sun. The freckles usually appear after the age of five and tend to fade somewhat in adults. Apart from avoiding sunlight, there is no known way of preventing them. They may, on occasion, be confused with pigmented nevi.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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