Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Idioms, Encyclopedia.
Related to fretted: Fretted instruments

fret 1

v. fret·ted, fret·ting, frets
1. To be vexed or troubled; worry. See Synonyms at brood.
2. To be worn or eaten away; become corroded.
3. To move agitatedly.
4. To gnaw with the teeth in the manner of a rodent.
1. To cause to be uneasy; vex: "fret thy soul with crosses and with cares" (Edmund Spenser).
a. To gnaw or wear away; erode.
b. To produce a hole or worn spot in; corrode.
3. To form (a passage or channel) by erosion.
4. To disturb the surface of (water or a stream); agitate.
1. The act or an instance of fretting.
2. A hole or worn spot made by abrasion or erosion.
3. Irritation of mind; agitation.

[Middle English freten, from Old English fretan, to devour; see ed- in Indo-European roots.]

fret 2

One of several ridges set across the fingerboard of certain stringed instruments, such as guitars.
tr.v. fret·ted, fret·ting, frets
1. To provide with frets.
2. To press (the strings of an instrument) against the frets.

[Origin unknown.]

click for a larger image
fret designs

fret 3

1. An ornamental design consisting of repeated and symmetrical geometric figures, often in relief, contained within a band or border. Also called key pattern.
2. A headdress, worn by women of the Middle Ages, consisting of interlaced wire.
tr.v. fret·ted, fret·ting, frets
To provide with such a design or headdress.

[Middle English, interlaced work, from Old French frete.]


1. (Art Terms) ornamented with angular designs or frets
2. (Building) decorated with fretwork
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adj.1.fretted - having frets
music - an artistic form of auditory communication incorporating instrumental or vocal tones in a structured and continuous manner
unfretted - without frets
2.fretted - having a pattern of fretwork or latticework
reticular, reticulate - resembling or forming a network; "the reticulate veins of a leaf"; "a reticulated highway system"


[ˈfrɛtɪd] adjintagliato/a, traforato/a
References in classic literature ?
The Devil knew it well, and fretted it continually with the touch of his burning finger
I was high bred and had a great deal of spirit, and was very wild, no doubt, and gave them, I dare say, plenty of trouble, but then it was dreadful to be shut up in a stall day after day instead of having my liberty, and I fretted and pined and wanted to get loose.
The duke he fretted and sweated around, and was in a mighty sour way.
Tom fretted and chafed awhile in a whirlwind of disorganizing sensations and emotions, and finally said, with something like settled conviction:
She was sure it was very ill--it cried, and fretted, and was all over pimples.
Having spread the quilt and folded my night-dress, I went to the window-seat to put in order some picture-books and doll's house furniture scattered there; an abrupt command from Georgiana to let her playthings alone (for the tiny chairs and mirrors, the fairy plates and cups, were her property) stopped my proceedings; and then, for lack of other occupation, I fell to breathing on the frost-flowers with which the window was fretted, and thus clearing a space in the glass through which I might look out on the grounds, where all was still and petrified under the influence of a hard frost.
He looked as if the sight of her worried and fretted him and as if he did not know what in the world to do with her.
Your deeds got into extemporised strong-rooms made of kitchens and sculleries, and fretted all the fat out of their parchments into the banking-house air.
While Godfrey Cass was taking draughts of forgetfulness from the sweet presence of Nancy, willingly losing all sense of that hidden bond which at other moments galled and fretted him so as to mingle irritation with the very sunshine, Godfrey's wife was walking with slow uncertain steps through the snow-covered Raveloe lanes, carrying her child in her arms.
No doubt the old cheery publicity is a little embarrassing to the two most concerned, and the old marriage customs, the singing of the bride and bridegroom to their nuptial couch, the frank jests, the country horse-play, must have fretted the souls of many a lover before Shelley, who, it will be remembered, resented the choral celebrations of his Scotch landlord and friends by appearing at his bedroom door with a brace of pistols.