Definition of fretful in English:



  • Feeling or expressing distress or irritation.

    ‘the baby was crying with a fretful whimper’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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 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.’
    • ‘Nolan has found his groove as a vocalist and his breathy, fretful, at times desperate vocals, are effectively emotive without being maudlin.’
    • ‘Passengers once glad to stand in line grow fretful as officials frisk grandmas' bags for tweezers.’
    • ‘Conventional wisdom says that a defendant should look engaged but not fretful, confident but not cocky.’
    • ‘And as for the public library who could dream of taking a fretful infant in there?’
    • ‘Now, I've seen the chapter in question and can assure my fretful reader that this is typical Kreeftian whimsy.’
    • ‘Activists and candidates, fretful about the coming general election, understandably want a quick fix.’
    • ‘Perhaps they could sell a book about it to guilty, fretful western mothers.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A traumatised soldier of the American Civil War deserts to get home to his fretful wife.’
    • ‘When he spoke, his voice, though fretful and agitated, was deep and noble.’
    • ‘They may refuse their feeds and become fretful with a shrill cry when handled.’
    • ‘Inspired, a fretful child proclaims, ‘I don't like war!’’
    • ‘I was a bit fretful in the back of the big silver car that had been sent to pick me up.’
    distressed, upset, miserable, unsettled, uneasy, ill at ease, uncomfortable, agitated, distraught, overwrought, wrought up, worked up, tense, stressed, restive, fidgety
    irritable, cross, crabbed, fractious, peevish, petulant, out of sorts, bad-tempered, ill-natured, edgy, irascible, grumpy, crotchety, touchy, captious, testy, tetchy
    querulous, complaining, grumbling, whining
    het up, uptight, twitchy, rattled, crabby
    overstrung, unquiet
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