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

  • n. Ornamental work consisting of three-dimensional frets; geometric openwork.
  • n. Such ornamental work represented two dimensionally by chiaroscuro.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. ornamental woodwork either carved in low relief or cut through with a fretsaw

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Work adorned with frets; ornamental openwork or work in relief, esp. when elaborate and minute in its parts. Hence, any minute play of light and shade, dark and light, or the like.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Ornamental work consisting of a series or combination of frets; ornamental work with interlacing parts; especially, work in which the design is formed by perforation.

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

  • n. framework consisting of an ornamental design made of strips of wood or metal


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • The walls apparently were hewn from black rock, and at regular intervals, placed some three feet from these gleaming walls, uprose slender golden pillars supporting a kind of fretwork arch which entirely masked the ceiling.

    The Yellow Claw

  • His metrical movements are full of the same joy in "fretwork" effects -- verse-rhythm and sense-rhythm constantly crossing where the reader expects them to coincide. [

    Robert Browning

  • But the Smithsonian quickly realized that there are downsides to owning a fragile, 100-year-old wooden structure dripping with ornamental fretwork.

    After some haggling, a piece of American history heads back home

  • Brand New, DaisyFive kids from Long Island have a many appropriate Modest Mouse manuscript since The Lonesome Crowded West, a sawing, slurring, snarling thing, full of sufficient rootless fretwork as good as perplexed melodies to give Isaac Brock pause.

    The Best Albums Of 2009, In Bigger Than The Sound | Industry Fokery

  • You contemplate the fretwork of your hand—the thin genetic thread that divides you from your simian predecessors, from the lone gunman on a turreted roof.

    The Gunman and the Ape

  • Though he is embraced as a guitar hero by fans of experimental fretwork, Mr. Sharp also records traditional blues (with the band Terraplane), writes for chamber groups and brassy big bands (Orchestra Carbon), throws in with electronic ensembles (such as the collaborative Bootstrappers), leads a 13-member guitar army (the All-Guitar SyndaKit) and joins creative sidekicks in hybrid projects that employ music, text and images.

    The 'East Village Nosferatu' Haunts Brooklyn

  • Or is it like lacy fretwork - tracery bracket & buzz saw

    Many Morning

  • In Xizhou, the Lindens worked with party officials to secure something rarely accorded foreigners: the right to use a “Class A” historical relic and restore it — its tiling, wooden arches and fretwork, painted murals.

    Village Dreamers

  • Indeed, most of the paintings here are underlaid with a fine fretwork of lines suggesting an architect's blueprint.

    A Whirl of Frenetic Markings and Vestigial Imagery

  • The gilded fretwork on her door looked worthy of any Ardasi palace, but it had been carved by a local artisan following her drawings, not a wizened Khartoli master.



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  • Crikey, it may as well be. That's what I think of whenever I see it. :)

    July 16, 2008

  • Hey c_b, is this related to preworrying?

    July 16, 2008