1375–1425; late Middle English; see fret2, -ed2

unfretted, adjective Unabridged


1 [fret]
verb (used without object), fretted, fretting.
to feel or express worry, annoyance, discontent, or the like: Fretting about the lost ring isn't going to help.
to cause corrosion; gnaw into something: acids that fret at the strongest metals.
to make a way by gnawing, corrosion, wearing away, etc.: The river frets at its banks until a new channel is formed.
to become eaten, worn, or corroded (often followed by away ): Limestone slowly frets away under pounding by the wind and rain.
to move in agitation or commotion, as water: water fretting over the stones of a brook.
verb (used with object), fretted, fretting.
to torment; irritate, annoy, or vex: You mustn't fret yourself about that.
to wear away or consume by gnawing, friction, rust, corrosives, etc.: the ocean fretting its shores.
to form or make by wearing away a substance: The river had fretted an underground passage.
to agitate (water): Strong winds were fretting the channel.
an irritated state of mind; annoyance; vexation.
erosion; corrosion; gnawing.
a worn or eroded place.

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)

fretter, noun

1. fume, rage. 6. worry, harass, goad, tease. 7. erode, gnaw, corrode, abrade, grind, rub, rust. 10. harassment, agitation, worry.


2 [fret]
an interlaced, angular design; fretwork.
an angular design of bands within a border.
Heraldry. a charge composed of two diagonal strips interlacing with and crossing at the center of a mascle.
a piece of decoratively pierced work placed in a clock case to deaden the sound of the mechanism.
verb (used with object), fretted, fretting.
to ornament with a fret or fretwork.

1350–1400; Middle English frette < ?; compare Middle French frete trellis-work, Old English fretwian, variant of frætwian to adorn

fretless, adjective


3 [fret]
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.
to provide with frets.

1490–1500; origin uncertain

fretless, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To fretted
World English Dictionary
fret1 (frɛt)
vb , 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.  (intr) (of a road surface) to become loose so that potholes develop; scab
6.  to agitate (water) or (of water) to be agitated
7.  (tr) to make by wearing away; erode
8.  a state of irritation or anxiety
9.  the result of fretting; corrosion
10.  a hole or channel caused by fretting
[Old English fretan to eat; related to Old High German frezzan, Gothic fraitan, Latin peredere]

fret2 (frɛt)
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
vb , frets, fretting, fretted
4.  (tr) to ornament with fret or fretwork
[C14: from Old French frete interlaced design used on a shield, probably of Germanic origin]

fret3 (frɛt)
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
[C16: of unknown origin]

fret4 (frɛt)
short for sea fret

fretted (ˈfrɛtɪd)
1.  ornamented with angular designs or frets
2.  decorated with fretwork

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. fretan "eat, devour" (in O.E., used of monsters and Vikings; in M.E., used of animals' eating), from P.Gmc. compound *fra- "for-" + *etan "to eat" (cf. Du. vreton, O.H.G. freggan, Ger. fressen, Goth. fraitan). 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.

"ornamental interlaced pattern," late 14c., from O.Fr. frete "interlaced work, trellis work," probably from Frank. *fetur (cf. O.E. fetor, O.H.G. 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 O.Fr. frete.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
Marino fretted that his speakeasy would go bankrupt.
In it, he fretted over the failure to distinguish between relevant and
  irrelevant character flaws.
The generals and spies fretted that the new president might put an end to an
  elaborate shadow war they had been waging.
Commercial interests fretted about whether their trademarks would carry any
  weight when it came time to register domain names.
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