American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- adj. Inclined to be vexed or troubled; peevish.
- adj. Marked by worry and distress; troublesome: "Of all the fretful stages of human development, adolescence is the most infamous” ( David Gelman).
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- Gnawing; wearing; abrading; corroding.
- In a state of commotion; moved or agitated, as water; seething.
- Disposed to fret; ill-tempered; ill-humored; peevish: as, a fretful temper.
- Characterized by, indicating, or causing fret, worry, or ill temper.
- Synonyms Peevish, Pettish, etc. (see petulant); irritable, complaining, querulous.
GNU Webster's 1913
- adj. Disposed to fret; ill-humored; peevish; angry; in a state of vexation.
- adj. nervous and unable to relax
- adj. habitually complaining
- From fret + -ful. (Wiktionary)
“True, Custer's connection to impotence may have been largely metaphorical, but to a certain fretful portion of the populace it struck home.”
“We will not say that our dear little Mary rose in this condition next morning, -- for, although she had the headache, she had one of those natures in which, somehow or other, the combative element seems to be left out, so that no one ever knew her to speak a fretful word.”
“Who's there!" called a fretful voice from inside.”
“This shewed a kind of fretful impatience; nor was it to be wondered at, considering our disagreeable ride.”
“But then, this might have been an ideal passion, as has happened to many of us, and we have never been less enamoured than when in the immediate presence of its object: but in this instance it was very different, creating a kind of fretful happiness quite intolerable.”
“This flicwcd a kind of fretful impatience; nor was it to be wondered at, confidcring our difagree - able ride.”
“I was only -- a kind of fretful porcupine -- standing up for my side. ”
“But “being in a busy state” also suggested being worried or fretful.”
“It made Carter sound like an old, fretful liberal, and we thought Reagan might use it again.”
“The fretful, frightened mother absorbs the hit, almost shattered by the news and how it plays out in her family, in her body.”
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