from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The state or character of being fretful; peevishness; ill humor; disposition to fret and complain; irritability.

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

  • noun The quality of being fretful

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

  • noun an irritable petulant feeling


Sorry, no etymologies found.


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  • A good man may be in want, but then he quiets himself, and strives to make himself easy; but these people when they shall be hungry shall fret themselves, and when they have nothing to feed on their vexation shall prey upon their own spirits; for fretfulness is a sin that is its own punishment.

    Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume IV (Isaiah to Malachi) 1721

  • It might be that her fretfulness was the effect of an uneasiness of mind, which was more hopeful than her previous fierce self-satisfaction, and that her aberrations were the last efforts of old evil habits to re-establish their grasp by custom, when her heart was becoming detached from them.

    Hopes and Fears or, scenes from the life of a spinster Charlotte Mary Yonge 1862

  • It cannot, however, be denied -- particularly in respect to nervous children -- that teething appears occasionally to induce unpleasant disturbances, such as fretfulness, broken sleep, digestive disorders, and occasionally fever; as a rule such symptoms persist only for a few days, if the infant be properly looked after.

    Health on the Farm A Manual of Rural Sanitation and Hygiene 1896

  • It is the morose look, the harsh expression, the tone of irritation and fretfulness which is so unpopular in school.

    The Teacher Or, Moral Influences Employed in the Instruction and Government of the Young Jacob Abbott 1841

  • Beijing's fretfulness about change has caused another good idea to struggle to get off the ground.

    Board Stiffed Raymond Zhong 2011

  • I assume your fretfulness about the actual shades of blue is a stab at humor.

    Matthew Yglesias » Pro-Slavery 2010

  • Parental heartbreak often hides or disguises itself in worries and fretfulness.

    The Blessing of a B Minus Ph.D. Wendy Mogel 2010

  • Mild side effects such as pain and tenderness where the shot was given, fever, fretfulness and drowsiness occurred in as many as one-half to one-third of children who received the vaccine.

    DTaP: Diphtheria, Tetanus and Pertussis Vaccine 2008

  • His signature style, both as a standup and as his TV alter ego Dave Mohumbhai, may be spaced-out slacker cool? but, in conversation, a fretfulness lurks, barely concealed beneath the easy-going San Francisco drawl.

    Arj Barker: Landing of the Conchord 2010

  • Otherwise, I've got to figure out meaning for myself and all, and that can cause a bit of fretfulness along the way.

    Archive 2009-01-01 Sage 2009


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