Main definitions of fret in English

: fret1fret2fret3

fret1

verb

  • 1[no 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’
    • ‘When the upper middle classes complain about housing prices, they are really fretting about the cost of housing in the most desirable locations.’
    • ‘Unfortunately, that's not the end of him - he stays onscreen as a ghost, fretting over his still-living partner.’
    • ‘Yes, it was bothersome but nothing to fret over too much.’
    • ‘I mean I've fretted over the cost for seven months now, right?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Gus was anxious, fretting when I let him out of my study.’
    • ‘She said: ‘I was panicking, fretting, crying and pleading with him to give me back my daughter.’’
    • ‘‘I was fretting about telling my parents,’ he recalls.’
    • ‘Heather was horribly disconcerted, fretting to no end.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He would often visit them on the weekends and constantly fretted about their well-being.’
    • ‘I had fretted at night concerned that he was feeling lonely.’
    • ‘It would have been so typical of me to start panicking and fretting with all that is expected of me.’
    • ‘Acton sat gazing out the windows, too anxious to do anything but fret about Lombard.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘These letters reveal the eager young composer fretting anxiously over arrangements for the premiere of the work.’
    • ‘The neurotic quality that Brooks brings to his characters is well suited to Marlin, constantly fretting over Nemo's safety and youthful exuberance.’
    worry, be anxious, feel uneasy, be distressed, be upset, upset oneself, concern oneself, feel unhappy
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[with object]Cause (someone) worry or distress.
      • ‘I doubt it'll change what I do, but it continues to fret me.’
      • ‘You break the rules of your people, invite danger upon yourself and fret your mother.’
      • ‘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.’’
      • ‘He keeps fretting himself into a frenzy on a race continuum, sliding between dynamic and charismatic, sinister and galling.’
  • 2[with object] Gradually wear away (something) by rubbing or gnawing.

    ‘the bay's black waves fret the seafront’
    • ‘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.’
    erode, wear away, wear down, bite into, corrode, consume, devour
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1Form (a channel or passage) by rubbing or wearing away.
    2. 2.2[no object]Flow or move in small waves.
      ‘soft clay that fretted between his toes’

noun

British
  • [in singular] 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.’

Origin

Old English fretan devour, consume of Germanic origin; related to Dutch vreten and German fressen, and ultimately to for- and eat.

Pronunciation:

fret

/fret/

Main definitions of fret in English

: fret1fret2fret3

fret2

noun

  • 1Art Architecture
    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.’
  • 2Heraldry
    A device of narrow diagonal bands interlaced through a diamond.

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • Decorate with fretwork.

    ‘intricately carved and fretted balustrades’
    • ‘The interior is further illuminated by slatted or fretted skylights while lower down, translucent canopies act as light diffusors.’
    • ‘Late medieval screens were frequently carved in an exuberant Gothic style with fretted tracery, pinnacles, and arcades.’
    • ‘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.’

Origin

Late Middle English: from Old French frete trelliswork and freter (verb), of unknown origin.

Pronunciation:

fret

/fret/

Main definitions of fret in English

: fret1fret2fret3

fret3

noun

  • 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 instrument has no frets or fingerboard; the strings float in the air.’
    • ‘The sweating made him more afraid of playing badly, as he worried that his fingers would slip on the frets of the lute.’
    • ‘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 across the frets while I was sure the plectrum he was holding should have been worn to shreds as he played.’
    • ‘She changed frets dramatically, adding little flourishes here and there.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The frequency is determined by the wavelength, which is altered by changing the length of the string using the frets.’
    • ‘He positioned her left hand and put her fingers on certain frets.’
    • ‘Just as she had found the correct frets for the fifth time in a row, there was a knock on the door.’
    • ‘His fingers flew up and down the frets, and most, if not all, the notes came out clean.’
    • ‘My hair was hanging in front of my face as I leaned over to see the frets of my 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.’
    • ‘Dick used the drum sticks to bang out the notes on the bass, with Tommy fingering the chords on the fret.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She slid her fingers onto the frets, and moved them.’
    • ‘‘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.’
    • ‘I put my hand over the strings to silence them and whipped my fingers away from the frets.’
    • ‘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.’

verb

[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’

Origin

Early 16th century: of unknown origin.

Pronunciation:

fret

/fret/