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

  • intransitive verb To moisten or soak (flax, for example) in order to soften and separate the fibers by partial rotting.
  • intransitive verb To become so moistened or soaked.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • A Middle English contraction of redeth (modern readeth).
  • To expose, as the gathered stems of fibrous plants, to moisture, in order, by partial fermentation or rotting, to facilitate the abstraction of the fiber.
  • noun The process of retting; retting.
  • To impute; ascribe.

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

  • transitive verb obsolete See aret.
  • transitive verb To prepare for use, as flax, by separating the fibers from the woody part by process of soaking, macerating, and other treatment.

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

  • abbreviation retired
  • verb transitive To prepare (flax, hemp etc.) for further processing by soaking, which facilitates separation of fibers from the woody parts of the stem.

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

  • verb place (flax, hemp, or jute) in liquid so as to promote loosening of the fibers from the woody tissue


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

[Middle English reten, probably from Middle Dutch reeten.]


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word ret.



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