Definitions

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

  • noun One of several ridges set across the fingerboard of certain stringed instruments, such as guitars.
  • transitive verb To provide with frets.
  • transitive verb To press (the strings of an instrument) against the frets.
  • noun An ornamental design consisting of repeated and symmetrical geometric figures, often in relief, contained within a band or border.
  • noun A headdress, worn by women of the Middle Ages, consisting of interlaced wire.
  • transitive verb To provide with such a design or headdress.
  • intransitive verb To be vexed or troubled; worry. synonym: brood.
  • intransitive verb To be worn or eaten away; become corroded.
  • intransitive verb To move agitatedly.
  • intransitive verb To gnaw with the teeth in the manner of a rodent.
  • intransitive verb To cause to be uneasy; vex.
  • intransitive verb To gnaw or wear away; erode.
  • intransitive verb To produce a hole or worn spot in; corrode.
  • intransitive verb To form (a passage or channel) by erosion.
  • intransitive verb To disturb the surface of (water or a stream); agitate.
  • noun The act or an instance of fretting.
  • noun A hole or worn spot made by abrasion or erosion.
  • noun Irritation of mind; agitation.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To adorn; ornament; set off.
  • To eat up; devour.
  • To eat into; gnaw; corrode.
  • To wear away; fray; rub; chafe: as, to fret cloth by friction; to fret the skin.
  • To make rough; cause to ripple; disturb; agitate: as, to fret the surface of water.
  • To chafe painfully or vexatiously; irritate; worry; gall.
  • To be worn away, as by friction; become frayed or chafed; be wearing out or wasting.
  • To make way by attrition or corrosion.
  • To be worried; give way to chafed or irritated feelings; speak peevishly and complainingly.
  • To be in commotion or agitation, as water; boil, bubble, or work as in fermentation; hence, to work as angry feelings; rankle.
  • noun A caul of silver or gold wire, sometimes ornamented with precious stones, worn by ladies in the middle ages.
  • noun A piece of interlaced or perforated ornamental work.
  • noun A kind of ornament much employed in Grecian art and in sundry modifications common in various other styles.
  • noun In heraldry, a charge consisting of two bendlets placed in saltier and interlaced with a mascle. Also called true-lover's knot and Harrington knot.
  • To ornament with or as if with frets.
  • To make a fret of.
  • To fasten; bind.
  • To strengthen; fill.
  • noun A wearing away, abrasion, or corrosion.
  • noun A place worn or abraded, as by friction.
  • noun In med.: Chafing, as in the folds of the skin of fat children.
  • noun Herpes; tetter.
  • noun In mining, the worn side of a river-bank, where ores, or stones containing them, accumulate by being washed down the hills, and thus indicate to the miner the locality of the veins.
  • noun A state of chafing or irritation, as of the mind, temper, etc.; vexation; anger: as, he keeps himself in a continual fret.
  • noun The agitation of the surface of a fluid, as when fermenting or boiling; a rippling on the surface, as of water; a state of ebullition or effervescence, as of wine.
  • noun A flurry.
  • noun A glass composition, composed of silica, lime, soda, borax, and lead, used as a glaze by potters.
  • noun In musical instruments of the lute and viol class, a small ridge of wood, ivory, metal, or other material, set across the finger-board, and serving as a fixed point for stopping or shortening the strings in playing, the fingers being applied just above it so as to press the string against it.
  • To provide with frets.
  • Punningly, in Shakspere, to worry as if by acting upon the frets of.
  • noun A frith.

Etymologies

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

[Middle English, interlaced work, from Old French frete.]

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

[Origin unknown.]

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

[Middle English freten, from Old English fretan, to devour; see ed- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Unknown

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Unknown

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin fretum ("strait, channel")

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English freten, from Old English fretan ("to eat up, devour"), from Proto-Germanic *fraetanan (“to devour”), corresponding to for- +‎ eat. Cognate with Dutch vreten ("to devour, hog, wolf"), Low German freten ("to eat up"), German fressen ("to devour, gobble up, guzzle"), Danish fråse ("to gorge"), Swedish fräta ("to eat away, corrode, fret"), Gothic 𐍆𐍂𐌰𐌹𐍄𐌰𐌽 (fraitan), 𐍆𐍂𐌰-𐌹𐍄𐌰𐌽 (fra-itan, "to devour").

Examples

Comments

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

  • Citation on termagant.

    September 18, 2008

  • Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; DO NOT FRET — it leads only to evil. For those who are evil will be destroyed, but those who hope in the LORD will inherit the land. Psalm 37:8-9.

    March 18, 2011

  • Evil? Obviously you need to get a better set o' fretters.

    Try banana.

    March 18, 2011

  • I really must file down the ends of the 5th fret on my guitar - Lord!, the sharp ends of that square inlaid wire rip the devil out of my sinister hand and fingers.

    March 18, 2011