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v. ret·ted, ret·ting, rets
To moisten or soak (flax, for example) in order to soften and separate the fibers by partial rotting.
To become so moistened or soaked.
[Middle English reten, probably from Middle Dutch reeten.]
vb, rets, retting or retted
(Textiles) (tr) to moisten or soak (flax, hemp, jute, etc) to promote bacterial action in order to facilitate separation of the fibres from the woody tissue by beating
[C15: of Germanic origin; related to Middle Dutch reeten, Swedish röta, German rösten; see rot1]
v.t. ret•ted, ret•ting.
to soak, as flax, to facilitate the removal of the fiber from the woody tissue by rotting.
[1400–50; late Middle English ret(t)en]
Past participle: retted