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[fret-fuh l] /ˈfrɛt fəl/
disposed or quick to fret; irritable or peevish.
Also, fretsome
[fret-suh m] /ˈfrɛt səm/ (Show IPA)
Origin of fretful
1585-95; fret1 + -ful
Related forms
fretfully, adverb
fretfulness, noun
unfretful, adjective
unfretfully, adverb
petulant, querulous, impatient, testy. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for fretful
  • After a few days of fretful humor, the weather became almost springlike again.
  • The group, and an expanding chorus of fretful bloggers, reckon that life is imitating art.
  • IF you feel fretful and tired this morning, you're not alone.
  • His fretful tenseness during the closing scenes is conveyed with sincerity.
  • The monkey soon starts to moan, fretful to escape from the constraining box.
  • There's too much insignificant detail though, too much emphasis on fretful detail.
  • The dealers who occupied many of the seats looked tense and fretful.
  • The journal entries grow increasingly fretful throughout the summer.
  • But in these fretful times, no one seems to be fretting much about the country's heavy reliance on foreign funding.
  • On the surface appeared none of all this fretful drama.
British Dictionary definitions for fretful


peevish, irritable, or upset
Derived Forms
fretfully, adverb
fretfulness, noun
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 fretful

1590s, from fret (v.) + -ful. Related: Fretfully.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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