definition

fret 1 |fret|
verb ( fretted , fretting )
1 [ intrans. ] be constantly or visibly worried or anxious : she fretted about the cost of groceries | [with clause ] I fretted that my fingers were so skinny.
• [ trans. ] cause (someone) worry or distress.

2 [ trans. ] gradually wear away (something) by rubbing or gnawing : the bay’s black waves fret the seafront.
• form (a channel or passage) by rubbing or wearing away.

• [ intrans. ] flow or move in small waves : soft clay that fretted between his toes.

noun [in sing. ] chiefly Brit.
a state of anxiety or worry.

ORIGIN Old English fretan [devour, consume,] of Germanic origin; related to Dutch vreten and German fressen, and ultimately to FOR- and EAT .


fret 2
noun
1 Art & Architecture: a repeating ornamental design of interlaced vertical and horizontal lines, such as the Greek key pattern.
2 Heraldry: a device of narrow diagonal bands interlaced through a diamond.
verb ( fretted , fretting ) [ trans. ] [usu. as adj. ] ( fretted)
decorate with fretwork : intricately carved and fretted balustrades.
ORIGIN late Middle English : from Old French frete ‘trelliswork’ and freter (verb), of unknown origin.

 


fret 3
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.

 

verb ( fretted , fretting ) [ trans. ] [often as adj. ] ( fretted)
1 provide (a stringed instrument) with frets.
2 play (a note) while pressing the string down against a fret : fretted notes.

DERIVATIVES
fretless adjective

ORIGIN early 16th cent.: of unknown origin.