One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
verbfretted, frets, fretting
1no object Be constantly or visibly worried or anxious.‘she fretted about the cost of groceries’with clause ‘I fretted that my fingers were so skinny’
worry, be anxious, feel uneasy, be distressed, be upset, upset oneself, concern oneself, feel unhappyView synonyms
- ‘When the upper middle classes complain about housing prices, they are really fretting about the cost of housing in the most desirable locations.’
- ‘Gus was anxious, fretting when I let him out of my study.’
- ‘He would often visit them on the weekends and constantly fretted about their well-being.’
- ‘These letters reveal the eager young composer fretting anxiously over arrangements for the premiere of the work.’
- ‘What I've learned through the 12-step program I'm in is to release to a higher power the concerns that I fret over.’
- ‘The post-war period was stressful for the king who fretted constantly.’
- ‘Another focuses on an anxious woman who frets about how her partner's personality changes when he gets behind the wheel.’
- ‘‘I was fretting about telling my parents,’ he recalls.’
- ‘The neurotic quality that Brooks brings to his characters is well suited to Marlin, constantly fretting over Nemo's safety and youthful exuberance.’
- ‘Acton sat gazing out the windows, too anxious to do anything but fret about Lombard.’
- ‘I had fretted at night concerned that he was feeling lonely.’
- ‘This portfolio manager also takes a dim view of his Sunday evening being disturbed by a client fretting about something neither of them can do anything about until at least the next business day.’
- ‘Unfortunately, that's not the end of him - he stays onscreen as a ghost, fretting over his still-living partner.’
- ‘An alarming new survey has found that almost one in four parents fret constantly about whether they have the ability to raise their children properly.’
- ‘I mean I've fretted over the cost for seven months now, right?’
- ‘Politicians fret over the rising cost of pensions while careless juveniles, ignoring their own inevitable fate, act as though older people are somehow dim-witted.’
- ‘She said: ‘I was panicking, fretting, crying and pleading with him to give me back my daughter.’’
- ‘It would have been so typical of me to start panicking and fretting with all that is expected of me.’
- ‘Heather was horribly disconcerted, fretting to no end.’
- ‘Yes, it was bothersome but nothing to fret over too much.’
- 1.1with object Cause (someone) worry or distress.
trouble, bother, concern, perturb, disturb, disquiet, disconcert, make anxious, cause anxiety, distress, upset, torment, alarm, panic, cause to panic, agitateView synonyms
- ‘I expect they'll be sending us out on a mission soon enough though, so don't fret yourself.’
- ‘Justin said in an encouraging voice ‘don't fret Mary, Rebecca will be safe I promise you that.’’
- ‘‘It's brilliant for the fans,’ says Killen, unconcerned with the stress caused by the forward-thinking foursome in fretting defenders across the country.’
- ‘Policyholders must be fretting themselves witless over what to do next.’
- ‘You break the rules of your people, invite danger upon yourself and fret your mother.’
- ‘He keeps fretting himself into a frenzy on a race continuum, sliding between dynamic and charismatic, sinister and galling.’
- ‘I doubt it'll change what I do, but it continues to fret me.’
2with object Gradually wear away (something) by rubbing or gnawing.‘the bay's black waves fret the seafront’
erode, wear away, wear down, eat away, eat away at, chip away, chip away at, bite into, corrode, consume, devourView synonyms
- ‘It has a proper mixed-use urban centre that focuses on a park and stretches along a magnificent site between forested hills and the complex fretted geometry of the coast of the Pacific Ocean.’
- ‘In all the caves they were surrounded by beautifully fluted and fretted columns whose pure white frosted surfaces shone out like beacons in the harsh magnesium light of their lanterns.’
- 2.1 Form (a channel or passage) by rubbing or wearing away.
3no object Flow or move in small waves.‘soft clay that fretted between his toes’
A state of anxiety or worry.
- ‘She also says that stars who had to return their borrowed designer duds did not have fret about removing sweat stains.’
Old English fretan ‘devour, consume’, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch vreten and German fressen, and ultimately to for- and eat.
A repeating ornamental design of interlaced vertical and horizontal lines, such as the Greek key pattern.
- ‘In France, reaction against the asymmetric filigree of late Rococo produced frames with architectural frets and interlaced ornament, suited to the Neoclassical interior.’
A device of narrow diagonal bands interlaced through a diamond.
verbfretted, frets, fretting[with object]usually as adjective fretted
Decorate with fretwork.‘intricately carved and fretted balustrades’
- ‘Late medieval screens were frequently carved in an exuberant Gothic style with fretted tracery, pinnacles, and arcades.’
- ‘The interior is further illuminated by slatted or fretted skylights while lower down, translucent canopies act as light diffusors.’
- ‘An archway on the western side of the pool opens on the causeway, bordered with balustrades of fretted marble, and, at close intervals there are standard lamps, their great lanterns set upon the marble columns.’
Late Middle English: from Old French frete ‘trelliswork’ and freter (verb), of unknown origin.
Each of a sequence of bars or ridges on the fingerboard of some stringed musical instruments (such as the guitar), used for fixing the positions of the fingers to produce the desired notes.
- ‘The sweating made him more afraid of playing badly, as he worried that his fingers would slip on the frets of the lute.’
- ‘For example, if there's a number thirteen on the third line down then you know you've got to put your finger on the thirteenth fret of the third string, and so on.’
- ‘He positioned her left hand and put her fingers on certain frets.’
- ‘I put my hand over the strings to silence them and whipped my fingers away from the frets.’
- ‘I touched my finger to the index finger of his left hand, feeling the hardened skin there, supposedly from pressing guitar strings down at the right frets.’
- ‘‘Okay,’ Chris said, sounding happier. ‘the first one goes like this,’ and here he took my fingers, and placed them on the frets and strings that applied.’
- ‘She studied what she had wrote, playing it back in her mind while lightly tapping her foot as she moved her hand to the various positions on the frets of the guitar.’
- ‘His fingers flew up and down the frets, and most, if not all, the notes came out clean.’
- ‘Just as she had found the correct frets for the fifth time in a row, there was a knock on the door.’
- ‘The instrument has no frets or fingerboard; the strings float in the air.’
- ‘His fingers flew across the frets while I was sure the plectrum he was holding should have been worn to shreds as he played.’
- ‘She slid her fingers onto the frets, and moved them.’
- ‘Slow and melancholic, it fizzes momentarily before breaking away into a folk-like rhythm as Dylan Jones, the other half of the group, picks and slides his way through the frets of a steel string acoustic guitar.’
- ‘One of his largest houses, for a musician, is called the Guitar House because its 40 rammed-earth columns look like the neck and frets of a guitar.’
- ‘The frequency is determined by the wavelength, which is altered by changing the length of the string using the frets.’
- ‘Even as I was thinking this, my fingers placed themselves on the frets and the pick glided across the strings as if of their own accord.’
- ‘She changed frets dramatically, adding little flourishes here and there.’
- ‘She sat back down on her bed with the guitar in her lap, she positioned it and put her fingers on the frets and began to play one of the songs Erica had taught her.’
- ‘Dick used the drum sticks to bang out the notes on the bass, with Tommy fingering the chords on the fret.’
- ‘My hair was hanging in front of my face as I leaned over to see the frets of my guitar.’
verbfretted, frets, fretting[with object]
1Provide (a stringed instrument) with frets.
- ‘The pipa is a plucked string instrument with a fretted fingerboard.’
- ‘The ability of fretted instruments to play chords and drive a piece along rhythmically has done a lot to change the range of sound in Irish music over the past 30 years.’
2Play (a note) while pressing the string down against a fret.‘fretted notes’
Early 16th century: of unknown origin.
nounPlural fretsNorthern English
A mist coming in off the sea; a sea fog.
- ‘I can hear a siren when the air is still, and the sea fret comes in.’
- ‘We've been mired in a sea fret for days now.’
- ‘The flinty soil there makes for a robust, nutty grain and the sea frets mellow it to a delicious flavour’
- ‘After mooring and rigging for the night the sea fret closed in further limiting visibility to less than 100 yards.’
- ‘The weather seems to be either glorious, or absolutely appalling, and sea frets regularly come sailing in over the horizon from the nearby Solent.’
- ‘Whilst visiting Bridlington today we stopped at the harbour and found that the sea fret was still covering most of it.’
- ‘I was briefly rewarded with this gentle sunrise before a sea fret moved in.’
- ‘If the wind is blowing in from the east then sea fret hits even when the rest of old Blighty is basking in conditions more akin to the Mediterranean.’
- ‘With the sea fret and a keen northerly wind by then it was getting a little nippy.’
- ‘The sun had now more-or-less burned away the remains of the sea fret, and it was a very pleasant, not uncomfortably warm afternoon.’
- ‘Consequently, coastal districts were often chilly, although sea frets, also frequently brought in from this direction, were thankfully scarce.’
- ‘The first weekend of this June brought bright sunshine, light winds and no sea fret, resulting in ideal conditions for diving the beautiful Northumberland coastline.’
- ‘Some elements are lost as when the sea fret covers the coast to then reappear again with echoes of previous layers, tracing a history and creating the painting's own character.’
- ‘We woke to a thick sea fret which reduced visibility considerably, but gave a great atmosphere to the place.’
- ‘In winter, sea frets spread like smoke across the bare soil, the few trees drip with damp, and the occasional farmworker on a bike is the only movement in the ancient, narrow lanes.’
- ‘The clouds and sea fret can make it just about any shade of orange, red, yellow, pink or purple you might care to imagine.’
- ‘There were at least two lots of these sea frets yesterday too.’
- ‘The eerie skeleton of Dunstanburgh Castle seen through a sea fret is one of the spectacular sights of the Northumberland coast.’
- ‘Sometimes it can be to its advantage, like today, but other times can result in sea frets, when mist rolls in from the sea, making it cold and damp, when it may be warm and sunny inland.’
- ‘I remember sea frets, I remember walking down there at night, I remember sitting on the rocks with the waves crashing inches away.’
Mid 19th century: of unknown origin.
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