Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To reduce or squander little by little: frittered his inheritance away. See Synonyms at waste.
  • transitive v. To break, tear, or cut into bits; shred.
  • n. A small cake made of batter, often containing fruit, vegetables, or fish, sautéed or deep-fried.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A dish made by deep-frying food coated in batter.
  • v. To occupy oneself idly or without clear purpose, to tinker with an unimportant part of a project, to dally, sometimes as a form of procrastination.
  • v. To sinter.
  • v. To cut (meat etc.) into small pieces for frying.
  • v. To break into small pieces or fragments.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A small quantity of batter, fried in boiling lard or in a frying pan. Fritters are of various kinds, named from the substance inclosed in the batter.
  • n. A fragment; a shred; a small piece.
  • transitive v. To cut, as meat, into small pieces, for frying.
  • transitive v. To break into small pieces or fragments.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To cut, as meat, into small pieces: also used figuratively.
  • To break into small pieces or fragments; wear away, as by friction; lose in small pieces or parts.
  • n. A small cake of batter, sometimes containing a slice of some fruit, clams or oysters either chopped or whole, or the like, sweetened or seasoned, fried in boiling lard, and served hot: as, apple fritters; peach fritters; oyster fritters.
  • n. A fragment; a shred; a small piece.
  • n. plural Specifically, in whale-fishery, tendinous fibers of the whale's blubber, running in various directions, and connecting the cellular substance which contains the oil.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. spend frivolously and unwisely
  • n. small quantity of fried batter containing fruit or meat or vegetables

Etymologies

Probably from fritter, fragment, probably alteration of fitters, from fitter, to break into small pieces.
Middle English friture, from Old French, from Late Latin frīctūra, from Latin frīctus, past participle of frīgere, to roast, fry.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

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