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Fret, vb. (partic. fretted; in Merch. IV, 1, 77 Qq fretten, Ff fretted), 1) to corrode, to eat or wear away: “rust the hidden treasure --s,” Ven. 767. “I would 'twere something that would f. the string, the master-cord on 's heart,” H8 III, 2, 105 (quibbling; see subst. Fret). Absolutely: “command these --ing waters from your eyes,” Meas. IV, 3, 151. Hence == to form by wearing away, to dig: “till they have --ed us a pair of graves,” R2 III, 3, 167. “f. channels in her cheeks,” Lr. I, 4, 307. Intransitively, == to be worn away, to corrupt, to rot: “stinking clothes that --ed in their own grease,” Wiv. III, 5, 115. “'twas a commodity lay --ing by you,” Shr. II, 330. “he --s like a gummed velvet,” H4A II, 2, 2 (velvet, being stiffened with gum, as it was customary, quickly rubbed and fretted itself out).
2) to agitate violently: “do not f. yourself too much in the action,” Mids. IV, 1, 14. when they (pines) “are --ed with the gusts of heaven,” Merch. IV, 1, 77 (Qq fretten). Absolutely: “a sail, filled with a --ing gust,” H6C II, 6, 35.
3) to be vexed, to be angry, to chafe: Ven. 69. Ven. 69 Ven. 69 Lucr. 648. Err. II, 1, 6. Shr. III, 2, 230. H4A II, 2, 2 (quibbling). H5 IV, 7, 82. H6A I, 2, 16. V, 2, 20. H6B I, 1, 230. H6C I, 4, 91. Caes. IV, 3, 42. Mcb. IV, 1, 91. V, 5, 25. Ant. III, 6, 27. Transitively, by way of quibbling, == to make angry: “though you can f. me, yet you cannot play upon me,” Hml. III, 2, 388; cf. H8 III, 2, 105.
4) to variegate: “yon gray lines that f. the clouds,” Caes. II, 1, 104. Fretted == a) various: “his --ed fortunes give him hope and fear,” Ant. IV, 12, 8. b) embossed, adorned: “this majestical roof --ed with golden fire,” Hml. II, 2, 313. “the roof o' the chamber with golden cherubins is --ed,” Cymb. II, 4, 88.
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