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fret1

[fret] /frɛt/
verb (used without object), fretted, fretting.
1.
to feel or express worry, annoyance, discontent, or the like:
Fretting about the lost ring isn't going to help.
2.
to cause corrosion; gnaw into something:
acids that fret at the strongest metals.
3.
to make a way by gnawing, corrosion, wearing away, etc.:
The river frets at its banks until a new channel is formed.
4.
to become eaten, worn, or corroded (often followed by away):
Limestone slowly frets away under pounding by the wind and rain.
5.
to move in agitation or commotion, as water:
water fretting over the stones of a brook.
verb (used with object), fretted, fretting.
6.
to torment; irritate, annoy, or vex:
You mustn't fret yourself about that.
7.
to wear away or consume by gnawing, friction, rust, corrosives, etc.:
the ocean fretting its shores.
8.
to form or make by wearing away a substance:
The river had fretted an underground passage.
9.
to agitate (water):
Strong winds were fretting the channel.
noun
10.
an irritated state of mind; annoyance; vexation.
11.
erosion; corrosion; gnawing.
12.
a worn or eroded place.
Origin
900
before 900; Middle English freten, Old English fretan to eat up, consume; cognate with Old Saxon fretan, Gothic fraitan, Old High German frezzan (German fressen)
Related forms
fretter, noun
Synonyms
1. fume, rage. 6. worry, harass, goad, tease. 7. erode, gnaw, corrode, abrade, grind, rub, rust. 10. harassment, agitation, worry.

fret2

[fret] /frɛt/
noun
1.
an interlaced, angular design; fretwork.
2.
an angular design of bands within a border.
3.
Heraldry. a charge composed of two diagonal strips interlacing with and crossing at the center of a mascle.
4.
a piece of decoratively pierced work placed in a clock case to deaden the sound of the mechanism.
verb (used with object), fretted, fretting.
5.
to ornament with a fret or fretwork.
Origin
1350-1400; Middle English frette < ?; compare Middle French frete trellis-work, Old English fretwian, variant of frætwian to adorn
Related forms
fretless, adjective

fret3

[fret] /frɛt/
noun
1.
any of the ridges of wood, metal, or string, set across the fingerboard of a guitar, lute, or similar instrument, which help the fingers to stop the strings at the correct points.
verb (used with object), fretted, fretting.
2.
to provide with frets.
Origin
1490-1500; origin uncertain
Related forms
fretless, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for fret
  • And if you can't make it over the holiday, don't fret.
  • The last fret-cutter is thinking of becoming a computer operator.
  • It seems my fate to fret away my years in this country.
  • They fret, and out of their own weakness are in agony, lest those divisions and subdivisions will undo us.
  • We fret about airport scanners, power lines, cellphones and even microwaves.
  • If you can't get a table outdoors on the patio, don't fret.
  • Although admissions officers have long fretted about enrollment outcomes, they used to fret under fewer microscopes.
  • Or who fretted-or, still worse, pretended not to fret-about their teaching evaluations.
  • But don't fret: although money is being destroyed on a regular basis, it's being crated even more quickly.
  • Its characters are too involved in one form or another of daily survival to fret about metaphysical matters.
British Dictionary definitions for fret

fret1

/frɛt/
verb frets, fretting, fretted
1.
to distress or be distressed; worry
2.
to rub or wear away
3.
to irritate or be irritated; feel or give annoyance or vexation
4.
to eat away or be eaten away by chemical action; corrode
5.
(intransitive) (of a road surface) to become loose so that potholes develop; scab
6.
to agitate (water) or (of water) to be agitated
7.
(transitive) to make by wearing away; erode
noun
8.
a state of irritation or anxiety
9.
the result of fretting; corrosion
10.
a hole or channel caused by fretting
Word Origin
Old English fretan to eat; related to Old High German frezzan, Gothic fraitan, Latin peredere

fret2

/frɛt/
noun
1.
a repetitive geometrical figure, esp one used as an ornamental border
2.
such a pattern made in relief and with numerous small openings; fretwork
3.
(heraldry) a charge on a shield consisting of a mascle crossed by a saltire
verb frets, fretting, fretted
4.
(transitive) to ornament with fret or fretwork
Derived Forms
fretless, adjective
Word Origin
C14: from Old French frete interlaced design used on a shield, probably of Germanic origin

fret3

/frɛt/
noun
1.
any of several small metal bars set across the fingerboard of a musical instrument of the lute, guitar, or viol family at various points along its length so as to produce the desired notes when the strings are stopped by the fingers
Derived Forms
fretless, adjective
Word Origin
C16: of unknown origin

fret4

/frɛt/
noun
1.
short for sea fret
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for fret
v.

"be peevish or worried," early 12c., from Old English fretan "eat, devour" (in Old English used of monsters and Vikings; in Middle English used of animals' eating), from Proto-Germanic compound *fra- "for-" + *etan "to eat" (cf. Dutch vreton, Old High German freggan, German fressen, Gothic fraitan). Transitive sense of "eat away" is from late 12c. Figurative sense of "irritate, worry, eat one's heart out" is c.1200. Modern German still distinguishes essen for humans and fressen for animals. Related: Fretted; fretting. As a noun, from early 15c.

n.

"ornamental interlaced pattern," late 14c., from Old French frete "interlaced work, trellis work," probably from Frankish *fetur or another Germanic source (cf. Old English fetor, Old High German feggara "fetter") perhaps from notion of "decorative anklet," or of materials "bound" together. The other noun, "ridge on the fingerboard of a guitar," is c.1500 of unknown origin but possibly another sense of Old French frete.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Article for fret

in decorative art and architecture, any one of several types of running or repeated ornament, consisting of lengths of straight lines or narrow bands, usually connected and at right angles to each other in T, L, or square-cornered G shapes, so arranged that the spaces between the lines or bands are approximately equal to the width of the bands. Occasionally the system is arranged so that the lines intersect or interlace, as in the common swastika fret. Because the fret is one of the simplest and most natural of decorative forms, it is one of the most widely spread, found from early times in most art forms and on all continents. Thus, it was a favourite decoration, during and after the 4th dynasty, for the ceilings of tombs in Egypt, where in later examples it was combined with rosettes, scarabs, and the lotus into patterns of great richness.

Learn more about fret with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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