Definition of fretful in English:



  • Feeling or expressing distress or irritation.

    ‘the baby was crying with a fretful whimper’
    • ‘Perhaps they could sell a book about it to guilty, fretful western mothers.’
    • ‘When we did arrive on the ground, I thankfully handed J.R. his fretful daughter, went to claim my luggage and found that my favourite overnight dressing case was missing.’
    • ‘Conventional wisdom says that a defendant should look engaged but not fretful, confident but not cocky.’
    • ‘Activists and candidates, fretful about the coming general election, understandably want a quick fix.’
    • ‘When he spoke, his voice, though fretful and agitated, was deep and noble.’
    • ‘Lanegan's personal narrative, the euphoric highs and ravaged lows of the junkie, the fretful pining of the love incompetent and the poetic musings of the maverick outsider, are poignantly realised.’
    • ‘For fretful parents, they were a hangout for hooligans cutting class to play Pac-Man, losing hours and quarters that could be spent in the fresh air and wholesome sunshine.’
    • ‘A traumatised soldier of the American Civil War deserts to get home to his fretful wife.’
    • ‘From the time he returned he was a man in a hurry, fretful, ambitious and, no doubt as his wife found, difficult to live with.’
    • ‘I was a bit fretful in the back of the big silver car that had been sent to pick me up.’
    • ‘Now, I've seen the chapter in question and can assure my fretful reader that this is typical Kreeftian whimsy.’
    • ‘They may refuse their feeds and become fretful with a shrill cry when handled.’
    • ‘It was not a message we ever heard from Shakespeare, who, increasingly fretful about the fate of kings, retreated into the ruminations of King Lear and a litigious retirement.’
    • ‘And as for the public library who could dream of taking a fretful infant in there?’
    • ‘Most of Saturday I was distracted and fretful, wracking my brains about what I could do when I would be forced to disappear from Rob's life for an entire month.’
    • ‘Inspired, a fretful child proclaims, ‘I don't like war!’’
    • ‘Nolan has found his groove as a vocalist and his breathy, fretful, at times desperate vocals, are effectively emotive without being maudlin.’
    • ‘A common first reaction to having made a mistake is to become upset, to become fretful or angry about it, or if it is a serious mistake to become deeply burdened and even depressed.’
    • ‘I saw the incomplete circle, lit up in the darkness of the mill's eaves, the pillars looking as peaceful as ancient standing stones despite the fretful, angry slogans they were covered in.’
    • ‘Passengers once glad to stand in line grow fretful as officials frisk grandmas' bags for tweezers.’
    distressed, upset, miserable, unsettled, uneasy, ill at ease, uncomfortable, agitated, distraught, overwrought, wrought up, worked up, tense, stressed, restive, fidgety
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