from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Filled with a specified element or elements; charged.
  • adjective Marked by or causing distress; emotional.
  • noun Freight; cargo.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Freighted; laden; loaded; charged; replete: chiefly in figurative use: as, a vessel richly fraught with goods from India; a scheme fraught with mischief.
  • To lade; load; freight (a ship).
  • Figuratively, to fill; store; charge.
  • To form or make up the freight of a vessel; constitute a vessel's freight or cargo.
  • noun A load; cargo; freight (of a ship).
  • noun The sum paid for the transportation of a load or cargo. Compare fraught-money.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun obsolete A freight; a cargo.
  • transitive verb obsolete To freight; to load; to burden; to fill; to crowd.
  • adjective Freighted; laden; filled; stored; charged.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun obsolete The hire of a ship or boat to transport cargo.
  • noun obsolete Money paid to hire a ship or boat to transport cargo; freight
  • noun obsolete The transportation of goods, especially in a ship or boat.
  • noun obsolete A ship's cargo, lading or freight.
  • noun Scotland A load; a burden.
  • noun Scotland Two bucketfuls (of water).
  • verb transitive To load (a ship, cargo etc.).
  • adjective Laden.
  • adjective Furnished, equipped.
  • adjective figuratively Loaded-up, charged or accompanied.
  • adjective Distressed.

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

  • adjective filled with or attended with
  • adjective marked by distress


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

[Middle English, past participle of fraughten, to load, from fraght, cargo; see freight, and from Middle Dutch vrachten, to load (from vracht, freight; see aik- in Indo-European roots).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English, from Middle Dutch vracht or Middle Low German vracht ("freight money"), ultimately from Proto-Germanic *fra- (intensive prefix) + Proto-Germanic *aihtiz (“possession”), from Proto-Indo-European *eik'- (“to possess”). Cognate with Old High German frēht ("earnings"), Old English ǣht ("owndom"). More at for-, own.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Thither full fraught with mischievous revenge,

    Accurst, and in a cursed hour he hies.

    Milton, Paradise Lost II

    December 18, 2006

  • frequently misused, because it sounds like 'taut'. Actually means "full". If adjectives could be classified as transitive and intransitive, then this would be intransitive, in that it needs to be followed by a preposition (with).

    Middle English, past participle of obsolete verb fraughten, to load. Cf freight

    July 16, 2008

  • I'm pretty certain it doesn't and can't mean "full", which seems to be a completely obsolete sense. The OED doesn't give any post-1800 prose citations for that sense. From then on, it's always 'fraught with danger', 'fraught with difficulty', etc.— the modern senses when used with 'with' (i.e. with a prepositional phrase complement). Checking Google and the British National Corpus confirms this.

    Used absolutely (i.e. without a PP complement), it seems to always have the ordinary modern sense "tense, difficult, distressing". This is a recent sense—the unrevised OED (2nd. ed.) only has quotations back to 1966—but it's clearly a very common and standard meaning. BNC quotations include:

    The whole fraught episode must signify something.

    And then the fraught silence would modulate into conciliatory monosyllable, and back to their peaceful co-existence.

    Out of this fraught legal and financial tangle the bureau worker must work with the client to create order and stability.

    Obviously as you get a little bit closer to it it gets rather more fraught.

    —So this is what the word actually means.

    July 16, 2008

  • How can "fraught with danger" not mean "filled with danger".

    "Common and standard" doesn't mean "correct". But where/when does incorrect become correct? I often hear people on tv saying "between you and I" but that can't ever be correct, however common it is.

    July 16, 2008

  • Etymology suggest two different sources:

    Middle English 'fraughten'

    Middle Dutch 'vrachten'

    July 16, 2008

  • I'm pretty certain it doesn't and can't mean "full"

    Sorry, qroqqa, I don't understand your reasoning here at all. Why not? And if not that, then what does it mean? You don't really address that.

    I have to say that jmp's comments seem to make far more sense than yours here. But then, I confess to a certain MEGO* reaction to jargon like "prepositional phrase complement".

    *: 'my eyes glaze over'.

    But maybe I'm missing something.

    July 16, 2008

  • I think this page is pretty fraught.

    July 16, 2008

  • I've always thought fraught meant "full" or "filled with" -- but never with anything "good."

    July 16, 2008

  • Yeah, chained_bear -- there's a whole lot of fraughttage going on.

    July 16, 2008

  • I think it's generally used in that way, but only through some trick of archaic grammar. "Marked by distress" is just the most perfect definition of it. Thanks, WeirdNET!

    ptero... will you please add that so I can shamelessly rip it off? Thanks.

    July 16, 2008