1 [frit-er]
verb (used with object)
to squander or disperse piecemeal; waste little by little (usually followed by away ): to fritter away one's money; to fritter away an afternoon.
to break or tear into small pieces or shreds.
verb (used without object)
to dwindle, shrink, degenerate, etc. (often followed by away ): to watch one's fortune fritter away.
to separate or break into fragments: a plastic material having a tendency to fritter.
a small piece, fragment, or shred.

1720–30; earlier fitter, derivative of fit (Old English fitt) a part

fritterer, noun
unfrittered, adjective

1. dissipate, frivol away, idle away. Unabridged


2 [frit-er]
a small cake of batter, sometimes containing corn, fruit, clams, or some other ingredient, fried in deep fat or sautéed.

1350–1400; Middle English friture, frytour < Old French friture < Late Latin frīctūra a frying, equivalent to Latin frict(us), past participle of frīgere to fry + -ūra -ure Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To fritter
World English Dictionary
fritter1 (ˈfrɪtə)
1.  (usually foll by away) to waste or squander: to fritter away time
2.  to break or tear into small pieces; shred
3.  a small piece; shred
[C18: probably from obsolete fitter to break into small pieces, ultimately from Old English fitt a piece]

fritter2 (ˈfrɪtə)
a piece of food, such as apple or clam, that is dipped in batter and fried in deep fat
[C14: from Old French friture, from Latin frictus fried, roasted, from frīgere to fry, parch]

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

"whittle away," 1728, from fritters "fragment or shred," possibly alteration of 16c. fitters "fragments or pieces," perhaps ultimately from O.Fr. fraiture "a breaking," from L. fractura.

"fried batter," 1381, from O.Fr. friture "something fried," from L.L. frictura "a frying."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Britannica


any of three types of fried foods. Plain fritters are deep-fried cakes of chou paste or a yeast dough. In a second type bits of meat, seafood, vegetables, or fruit are coated with a batter and deep fried. Small cakes of chopped food in batter, such as corn fritters in the southern United States, are also called fritters.

Learn more about fritter with a free trial on

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source
Example sentences
The family-owned chain does not fritter away cash on advertising.
The entire flowering umbel can be dipped in a batter and fried for a tasty fritter.
Over a freshly-made cheese fritter drenched in homemade sour cream and topped with hand-picked strawberries.
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature