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Fretful   Listen
adjective
Fretful  adj.  Disposed to fret; ill-humored; peevish; angry; in a state of vexation; as, a fretful temper.
Synonyms: Peevish; ill-humored; ill-natured; irritable; waspish; captious; petulant; splenetic; spleeny; passionate; angry. Fretful, Peevish, Cross. These words all indicate an unamiable working and expression of temper. Peevish marks more especially the inward spirit: a peevish man is always ready to find fault. Fretful points rather to the outward act, and marks a complaining impatience: sickly children are apt to be fretful. Crossness is peevishness mingled with vexation or anger.






Collaborative International Dictionary of English 0.48








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"Fretful" Quotes from Famous Books



... and the proud, vain, fretful and selfish Mineptah ruled in his place. It was worse with ...
— Little Journeys To The Homes Of Great Teachers • Elbert Hubbard

... which he did not know were different from those of other children, and then at his sweet, bright face, which, though he knew not that either, was exceedingly different from many children's faces, which are often so fretful, cross, sullen. Looking at him, instead of sighing, she smiled. "I beg your pardon, my ...
— The Little Lame Prince - And: The Invisible Prince; Prince Cherry; The Prince With The Nose - The Frog-Prince; Clever Alice • Miss Mulock—Pseudonym of Maria Dinah Craik

... heart and memory by keeping her patient hands from ever wounding her children! What peace she keeps in the house, just by having peace always within herself! Paul can find no better figure wherewith to set forth God's marvellous patience with Israel during her fretful childhood in the wilderness, than just that of such a nurse among her provoking children. And we see the deep hold that same touching and instructive sight had taken of the apostle's heart as he returns to it ...
— Bunyan Characters - First Series • Alexander Whyte

... have more sense than to bring a good-looker?" Nolan asked Captain Hardin in a fretful voice. "Don't you know that ...
— Eve to the Rescue • Ethel Hueston

... continuous grandeur. On the contrary, as the necessity of rousing attention, or of sustaining it, obliged the Attic orator to rely too much on the personality of direct question to the audience, and to use brief sentences, so also the same impatient and fretful irritability forbade him to linger much upon an idea—to theorise, to speculate, or, generally, to quit the direct business path of the question then under consideration—no matter for what purpose of beauty, dignity, instruction, ...
— The Uncollected Writings of Thomas de Quincey—Vol. 1 - With a Preface and Annotations by James Hogg • Thomas de Quincey

... promontory, many a comely fold of wood on the mountain-side, beckons and allures his imagination day after day, and is yet as inaccessible to his feet as the clefts and gorges of the clouds. The sense of distance grows upon him wonderfully; and after some feverish efforts and the fretful uneasiness of the first few days, he falls contentedly in with the restrictions of his weakness. His narrow round becomes pleasant and familiar to him as the cell to a contented prisoner. Just as he has fallen already out of the mid race of active life, he now ...
— The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson - Swanston Edition - Vol. 2 (of 25) • Robert Louis Stevenson

... Tom spent a fretful half hour, waiting for the clerk to come in, and he was nervous lest some of the school lads enter and question him as to his presence in the place. For Tom was not anxious that his errand be known except to his chums. But none ...
— Tom Fairfield's Pluck and Luck • Allen Chapman

... a red flannel shirt, with his foot upon the hub, bending across the wheel and gesticulating in an endless discussion of politics or crops, while my brother and I were impatient to be off. Dolly was of course patient, for she had long since passed her fretful youth. If by any biological chance it had happened that she had been an old lady instead of a horse, she would have been the kind that spent her day in a rocker with her knitting. Any one who gave Dolly an excuse for standing was her friend. There she stood ...
— There's Pippins And Cheese To Come • Charles S. Brooks

... Faith seated by the kitchen fire with Joan upon her lap. Joan drowsy and feverish, and fretful. ...
— Anxious Audrey • Mabel Quiller-Couch

... the Author has introduced a Rebellion unparalleled in any History, Ancient or Modern. He raises his Rebellions as a skilful Gardener does his Mushrooms, in a Moment; and like an artful Nurse, he lulls in a Moment the fretful Child asleep. The Prince enters an Appartment of the Palace with a drawn Sword; this forms the Rebellion. The King enters the same Appartment without a drawn Sword. This quashes the Rebellion. How to credit this Story, or to pardon this poetical ...
— Critical Strictures on the New Tragedy of Elvira, Written by Mr. David Malloch (1763) • James Boswell, Andrew Erskine and George Dempster

... somehow under the heat of his ardor and longing for his native land this hackneyed phrase took on its real and dreadful value. In the sudden sweep of this vital remembrance, Claire Robson rose for a moment above the fretful drip of circumstance.... Blood-red Dawn!... She threw herself back upon ...
— The Blood Red Dawn • Charles Caldwell Dobie

... to him again. He was somewhat fretful from his illness. A gentleman[538] asked him, whether he had been abroad to-day. 'Don't talk so childishly, (said he.) You may as well ask if I hanged myself to-day.' I mentioned politicks. JOHNSON. 'Sir, I'd as soon have a man to break my bones as talk ...
— Life Of Johnson, Volume 4 (of 6) • Boswell

... hours, unable to see anything and having nought else to distract our attention, until Tom, becoming somewhat affected by the smell of the bilge water in the hold as well as by the unaccustomed rocking movement of the brig, began to feel sea-sick and fretful. ...
— On Board the Esmeralda - Martin Leigh's Log - A Sea Story • John Conroy Hutcheson

... as the eye could reach, a thin stream of white and pink and blue, a tumbling river of curls and caps and bare legs, were the children. A babble of shrill cries, of chattering laughter, of fretful screams, an undercurrent of remonstrance, of soothing patience, of angry threatening, marked their slow progress up and ...
— McClure's Magazine, Vol. XXXI, No. 3, July 1908. • Various

... contracts, and deceives the honest purchaser, or dupes the confiding vendor; the baseness which conspires to wink down credit; the avarice which greedily takes advantage of poverty, or the craft which converts it into a weapon of fraud; the scandal which sets neighbor against neighbor; the fretful harshness which clouds the domestic fireside; the ingratitude which spurns parental influence; the selfishness which would trade in principles, and bargain away public measures for private gain,—these, and such as these, are the conclusive proofs of public vice. Even ...
— Reflections on the Operation of the Present System of Education, 1853 • Christopher C. Andrews

... stepmother, was good to him and he to her. Above all she encouraged him in his early studies, to which a fretful housewife could have opposed such terrible obstacles. She lived to hope that he might not be elected President for fear that enemies should kill him, and she lived to have her fear fulfilled. His affectionate care over her continued to the end. She lived latterly ...
— Abraham Lincoln • Lord Charnwood

... little Liza in a fretful tone. She was standing with head averted from the bowl which was in her mother's hands, with nervous fingers ...
— The Shadow of a Crime - A Cumbrian Romance • Hall Caine

... is," said Mrs. Herbert, in a fretful voice, "that I promised to buy him a book, and forgot ...
— Home Lights and Shadows • T. S. Arthur

... beyond, leaning against the rocky cliff, was a bulky figure in a long dust-coat. He had pushed up his motor-goggles and was wiping his forehead with a limp handkerchief. His round, fat face, with pursed-up lips and wide-open light-blue eyes, bore the expression of a fretful child. On his left was a lean, thin-faced fellow with a black mustache who looked scared and nervous. There was no sign of the third person who had been in the car, and even at this crucial moment Buck found time to observe the absence of his horse, Pete, and wondered ...
— Shoe-Bar Stratton • Joseph Bushnell Ames

... whom she had lost through scarlet fever. James Hubert John Fergus Saltyre never heard much of her, and barely knew of her past existence because in the picture gallery he had seen a portrait of a tall, thin, fretful-looking young lady, with light ringlets, and pearls round her neck. She had not attracted him as a child, and the fact that he gathered that she had been his mother left him entirely unmoved. She was ...
— The Shuttle • Frances Hodgson Burnett

... taking the hint, Master Putnam, like a dutiful husband, who really loved his somewhat peevish and fretful wife, acknowledged by his silence in the future that the Harmons were much superior to any family that could not boast of possessing a minister and an island; the latter for five ...
— Dulcibel - A Tale of Old Salem • Henry Peterson

... Reginald would betake himself to the schoolroom and employ his idle time in making it nearly impossible for Ada and Phyllis to learn, by talking, laughing, teasing the canary, overturning everything in pursuing wasps, making Emily fretful by his disobedience, and then laughing at her, and, in short, proving his right to the title he had given himself at the end of the only letter he had written since he first went to school, and which he had subscribed, 'Your affectionate bother, R. Mohun.' So that, for their own sake, all would have ...
— Scenes and Characters • Charlotte M. Yonge

... having devoured the three pears, Pinocchio yawned tremendously, and then said in a fretful tone: ...
— Pinocchio - The Tale of a Puppet • C. Collodi

... and to-morrow—when the souls of men were sick, When wives were fickle or fretful or the bills were falling thick, When the youth was minded to marry and the maiden withheld consent, Heeding the words of NIMROD, they packed their spears ...
— Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 159, September 8th, 1920 • Various

... so she sat down to nurse it: for a little while the infant refused to drink, struggling and kicking in its mother's arms, then for a few minutes it was quite, taking the milk in a half-hearted, fretful way. Then it began to ...
— The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists • Robert Tressell

... farmer—little more, indeed, than a shepherd, yet something in his air and all his speech showed him superior to his circumstances. He was a god-send to her dreariness in this place Edinburgh and the noisy world had made her fretful of, and she was in ...
— Gilian The Dreamer - His Fancy, His Love and Adventure • Neil Munro

... belonged to that class. Even if he reads it he may not recognise it. But he will not read it or have it read to him. He will even be somewhat fretful if ...
— Love Stories • Mary Roberts Rinehart

... by the humble little lady's speech, and by the thought of how little one is apt to realize the fact that faded, fretful, trouble-worn people in middle life have been young, and remember ...
— Mrs. Overtheway's Remembrances • Juliana Horatia Ewing

... —— began now to draw to an end, and indeed, notwithstanding his money, it had lasted so long that I was much more sick of his lordship than he could be of me. He grew old and fretful, and captious, and I must add, which made the vice itself begin to grow surfeiting and nauseous to me, he grew worse and wickeder the older he grew, and that to such degree as is not fit to write of, and made me so weary of him that upon one of his capricious humours, which he often took occasion ...
— The Fortunate Mistress (Parts 1 and 2) • Daniel Defoe

... repeat our conviction that Arabella has been fortunate in her husband. To be sure, she is fretful, discontented, peevish, irritable, cross; but that is her normal condition. At times Hiram has treated her with severity, but never cruelty. He has borne quietly and with patience what would have set most husbands frantic; and has contented himself with remaining silent, when many ...
— The Continental Monthly, Volume V. Issue I • Various

... is weak and fretful, and does not like to exert himself, though he ought to be out a great deal, and kept from thinking of his little troubles. He cannot walk much yet, so I have a wheeled chair to push him in; and the paths are so hard, it will ...
— Under the Lilacs • Louisa May Alcott

... morning by the fretful voice of her mother, as she went scolding about the house, trying to pick up something for breakfast; and she heard her father answering her in no pleasant mood, and kicking about the floor ...
— Little Alice's Palace - or, The Sunny Heart • Anonymous

... copiously perspiring; and when he turned upon the prisoner a large meaningless countenance, that was (like Bardolph's) "all whelks and bubuckles," the dullest might have been prepared for grief. Here was a stupid man, sleepy with the heat and fretful at the interruption, whom neither ...
— Across The Plains • Robert Louis Stevenson

... when I had lost my place in the class, and had done my work wrong side outward, I came home discouraged and fretful. I went to my mother's chamber. She was paler than usual, but she met me with the same affectionate smile that always welcomed my return. Alas, when I look back through the lapse of thirteen years, I think my ...
— The Child at Home - The Principles of Filial Duty, Familiarly Illustrated • John S.C. Abbott

... The pale, fretful-looking little pair went solemnly to Christie's knee, and stood there staring at her with a dull composure that quite daunted her, it ...
— Work: A Story of Experience • Louisa May Alcott

... outward senses, empty phantoms, always longing to get, always sparing to give, careless as to talk, unwilling to sit silent, eager for food, wakeful for news, weary of a good book, quick to anger, easy of offence at my neighbour, and too ready to judge him, too merry over prosperity, and too gloomy, fretful, and peevish in adversity; so often making good rules for my future life, and coming so little speed with them all, and so on. And, in facing even such a terrible thicket as that, let not even an old man absolutely despair. At forty, at sixty, ...
— Bunyan Characters - Third Series - The Holy War • Alexander Whyte

... pressing it with fervour between both hers, she exclaimed that she was glad to see him. Her uncle and aunt gave her the highest praise for her good behaviour, and assured her father that they had never during the whole time of her visit seen her once out of humour, or at all fretful upon any occasion. Mr. Placid said he was extremely happy to hear so good an account of his little girl, but that he had expected everything amiable from the sweetness of her disposition, adding, 'It would be very strange ...
— Forgotten Tales of Long Ago • E. V. Lucas

... till the next day when the house was tolerably quiet, and Molly, rather fretful and grumbling, had helped Judith down to her place by the fire, that she ventured the question, "Molly, you have not a bit more of that pretty wall-paper you ...
— The Carbonels • Charlotte M. Yonge

... chief attendant, knew all her whims and ways to perfection. According to Rebecca's idea, "she was a peevish, fretful, ill-natured, but kind-hearted creature." Being very tired of her old mistress and heartily sick of bondage, and withal desiring to save her daughter, she ascertained the doings of the Underground Rail Road,—was ...
— The Underground Railroad • William Still

... this particular evening when Sarah had been instructed to put a hot-water bottle in his bed, Henry's tone, in greeting his aunt, had been curt, fretful, peevish, nearly cantankerous. 'Don't worry me!' he had irascibly protested, well knowing that his good aunt was guiltless of the slightest intention to worry him. Here was a problem, an apparent contradiction, ...
— A Great Man - A Frolic • Arnold Bennett

... before it beat the water, Beat the clear and sunny water, Beat the shining Big-Sea-Water. There the wrinkled old Nokomis Nursed the little Hiawatha, Rocked him in his linden cradle, Bedded soft in moss and rushes, Safely bound with reindeer sinews; Stilled his fretful wail by saying, "Hush! the Naked Bear will hear thee!" Lulled him into slumber, singing, "Ewa-yea! my little owlet! Who is this, that lights the wigwam? With his great eyes lights the wigwam? Ewa-yea! my little owlet!" ...
— The Complete Poetical Works of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

... this, but we should not let it spoil our own lives. We should not fret about it. We should have a proper concern for the welfare of their souls, so that we shall earnestly pray for them and do all in our power to cause them to do better, but this is very different from being fretful, from worrying and bothering ourselves continually. If we keep our eyes on the wickedness of others and continually grieve over it, we shall have no time to be joyful ourselves, we shall have no time to live ...
— Heart Talks • Charles Wesley Naylor

... hand. It hurtled like a star, crashed against the wall, fell shattered and extinguished. We were in darkness—and in silence. For a long interval no word was spoken; the gale was free to noise itself upon our ears—the patter of rain, the howl of the wind, the fretful breaking; ...
— The Cruise of the Shining Light • Norman Duncan

... her troubles: how her daughter-in-law refused employment, and disdained instruction in needlework, housewifery, or any domestic art, how she jangled the spinnet, but would not learn music, and was unoccupied, fretful, and exacting, a burthen to herself and every one else, and treating Lucy as the slave of her whims and humours. As to such discipline as mothers- in-law were wont to exercise upon young wives, the least ...
— A Reputed Changeling • Charlotte M. Yonge

... me who it is?" she retorted, in an impatient, fretful tone, not having the discernment to see that he wished to prepare her for what was coming. "Can't you speak, Jan, if he won't? People have no right to come, dressed up in other people's clothes and faces, to frighten us to death. He ought to be ...
— Verner's Pride • Mrs. Henry Wood

... his own for a time with any farmer of the neighbourhood. But, by the irony of fate, the prosperity which his industry and tenacity deserved was filched from him little by little by the ill-health of his wife. She bore him two sons, Reuben and Alexander, and then she sank into a hopeless, fretful invalid, tormented by the internal ailment of which she ultimately died. But the small farmer who employs little or no labour is lost without an active wife. If he has to pay for the milking of his cows, the making of his butter, the cooking of his food, and the nursing of ...
— The History of David Grieve • Mrs. Humphry Ward

... no battle," said Ganelon in fretful tones. "Thou art grown old and fearful. Thou talkest as a frightened child. Well thou knowest the pride of Roland, the strong, bold, great and boastful Roland, that God hath suffered so long upon His earth. For one hare Roland would sound his horn all day long. Doubtless now ...
— Young Folks Treasury, Volume 2 (of 12) • Various

... without regret; I only wished that an old and dear friend of mine, with whom I had often gone, might be with me. He had quitted life before me, and I knew somehow or hoped that I should before long see him; but I did not wish things to be otherwise; and, indeed, I had a strange interest in the fretful, silly, lovely girl with me, and in what lay before us. She prattled on, and seemed to be recovering her spirits and her confidence at the sights around us. If I could but find anything that would draw her out of her restless mood into ...
— The Child of the Dawn • Arthur Christopher Benson

... cannot imagine; and that is the trouble. If she could, all would be righted. It is quite probable that she is a far more anxious, self-sacrificing, hard-working mother than the neighbor, whose children are rosy and frolicking and affectionate and obedient; while hers are pale and fretful and ...
— Bits About Home Matters • Helen Hunt Jackson

... continual motion from right to left, gave Bob a wipe in the eye with his tail, which by the velocity of the wearer was kept in full play like the pendulum of a clock, or the tail of Matthews in his admirable delineation of Sir Fretful Plagiary. ...
— Real Life In London, Volumes I. and II. • Pierce Egan

... and she would have gone to bed immediately, but crossing the drawing-room she heard the fretful voice of her aunt saying, "Is that you, Roma?" and she had no choice but to go into the ...
— The Eternal City • Hall Caine

... 'the most unfortunate man in the world.' Cold as he was, and wretched as he declared himself to be, he was not wholly unsusceptible of attachments. He revered the memory of Hoyle, as he was himself an admirable and imperturbable whist-player, and he chuckled with delight at a fretful and impatient adversary. He adored King Herod for his massacre of the innocents; and if he hated one thing more than another, it was a child. However, he could hardly be said to hate anything in particular, because he disliked ...
— Sketches by Boz - illustrative of everyday life and every-day people • Charles Dickens

... with Morewood. May had pleaded letters to write and sat down to the task. The man who a little while ago had been the centre of attention was left alone. He wandered about idly for a few moments, then dropped into a chair, seeming too tired to read, looking fretful, listless, solitary and sad. She watched him furtively for some time from behind the tall sides of the old-fashioned escritoire; he sat very still, stretched out, frowning, pale. Suddenly she rose and crossed ...
— Quisante • Anthony Hope

... whose lightest word would harrow up our souls; freeze our young blood; make our eyes, like stars, start from their spheres; our knotted and combined locks to part, and each particular hair to stand on end like quills upon the fretful porcupine"; but fortunately "this eternal blazon must not be to ears of flesh and blood," and so we ...
— From John O'Groats to Land's End • Robert Naylor and John Naylor

... overhead, one of those not uncommon yet indescribable skies (in quality, not details or forms) of limpid blue, with rolling silver-fringed clouds, and a pure-dazzling sun. For underlay, trees in fulness of tender foliage—liquid, reedy, long-drawn notes of birds—based by the fretful mewing of a querulous cat-bird, and the pleasant chippering-shriek of two kingfishers. I have been watching the latter the last half hour, on their regular evening frolic over and in the stream; evidently a spree of the liveliest kind. They pursue each other, whirling and wheeling ...
— Complete Prose Works - Specimen Days and Collect, November Boughs and Goodbye My Fancy • Walt Whitman

... change! All that, makes me exacting. Ah! well, it does not matter, I am yours. You have told me, in your better moments, that Providence appointed me to watch over you as a mother. Yes, when you make me suffer, I do not look upon you as a lover, but as a sick child, fretful and rebellious, that I must care for and cure in order that I may always keep him and love him. May God give me that power!" she added, looking up to heaven. "May God, who sees me, who hears us, may the God of mothers and of lovers, ...
— The Confession of a Child of The Century • Alfred de Musset

... times, in sheltered nook, We scattered pearly millet by the brook. Lo thine lay barren in the sand. Quick mine Upspringing sifts o'er pale blooms odors fine: Hateful thy chidings grow; each breeze doth bring Ever thy plaints—thy fretful murmuring. These many days I weary of thy sighs; Know, Lilith, I alone rule Paradise." Thereat he rose, and quick at every stride The fawning leopard gambolled at his side. So fell the first dark shadow of Earth's ...
— Lilith - The Legend of the First Woman • Ada Langworthy Collier

... Sultan seldom gave an alarm of this sort unless something serious was the matter. Ted's dream was of Indians, and the call of Sultan was very natural, for the little black stallion hated Indians, and whenever one came within smelling distance of him he grew uneasy and fretful, and always gave voice ...
— Ted Strong in Montana - With Lariat and Spur • Edward C. Taylor

... how I can get ready soon. The baby is fretful, and I'm all worn out between broken rest and worry. Won't you take Effie for ...
— A Young Girl's Wooing • E. P. Roe

... and brain, belong to one sphere, and are subject to the temporal fates that rule there; but reason, imagination, love, will, belong to another, and, immortally fortressed there, laugh to scorn the fretful sieges ...
— The Destiny of the Soul - A Critical History of the Doctrine of a Future Life • William Rounseville Alger

... shall—I do already. You can't imagine what queer, fretful-looking lines were beginning to show themselves on George's brow. He would have looked old enough for a grandfather in a few years, if I had gone on trying to realize the hope he expressed, that I would abstain from ...
— The Wedding Guest • T.S. Arthur

... heart, "and with her to love once is to commit herself for ever. Her clever husband thinks her too prim. What would a stupid poet call it?" He relapsed with aching impotence into the sense of her being somehow beyond him, unattainable, immeasurable by his own fretful logic. Suddenly he gave three passionate switches in the air with his cane which made Madame de Mauves look round. She could hardly have guessed their signifying that where ambition was so vain the next best thing to it was ...
— Madame de Mauves • Henry James

... infirmities and from the great change that was about to take place at the residence he had built, and where he had long lived in so much prosperity and happiness. But what struck me most was the patient kindness with which he supported himself under the many fretful expressions that his sister Anne addressed to him or uttered in his hearing, and she, poor thing, as mistress of that house, had been subject, after her mother's death, to a heavier load of care and responsibility, and ...
— The Prose Works of William Wordsworth • William Wordsworth

... illness, perhaps, did less to teach us to do without her, than long illnesses commonly do; because her sick-room was so little like a sick-room, and her interests never narrowed to the fretful circle of mere invalid fears and fancies. The strong sense of humour, which never left her, helped her through many a petty annoyance; and to the last she kept one of her most striking qualities, so well described ...
— Miscellanea • Juliana Horatia Ewing

... Moses when he was hungry. She knew that he was never fretful after he had eaten a good meal. So her feet twinkled across the cellar floor and she disappeared ...
— The Tale of Miss Kitty Cat - Slumber-Town Tales • Arthur Scott Bailey

... of the naked dead, flanked by the rigid silver statue, was not pleasant to look upon. It was made up of men alone. Were the womenkind, then, forced to sleep in the shelter of the stifling mud- huts as best they might? The fretful wail of a child from a low mud-roof answered the question. Where the children are the mothers must be also to look after them. They need care on these sweltering nights. A black little bullet-head peeped over the coping, and a thin—a painfully thin— brown leg was slid over on to the ...
— Life's Handicap • Rudyard Kipling

... fretful when Tresler mounted her. She treated him to a mild display of bad temper, and then danced boisterously off down the trail, and her progress was as much made on her hind legs as on all fours. Once ...
— The Night Riders - A Romance of Early Montana • Ridgwell Cullum

... unfavourably but with justice. This is among the indications of orderly and elevated minds; and here stands the barrier that separates them from the common and the waste. Is a man to be angry because an infant is fretful? Is a philosopher to unpack and throw away his philosophy, because an idiot has tried to overturn it on the road, and has pursued it with ...
— Imaginary Conversations and Poems - A Selection • Walter Savage Landor

... a tale unfold, whose lightest word Would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood, Make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their spheres, Thy knotted and combined locks to part And each particular hair to stand an end, Like quills upon the fretful porpentine:[131-3] But this eternal blazon must not be To ears of flesh and blood. List, list, ...
— Familiar Quotations • John Bartlett

... Kendal, who was with Lucy and Miss Ferrars. No one knew where Genevieve was, but Albinia was confident that she could take good care of herself, and was not too uneasy to enjoy the grand representation of Windsor Castle, and the finale of interlaced ciphers amidst a multitude of little fretful sputtering tongues of flame. Then it was, amid good nights, donning of shawls, and announcing of carriages, that Captain Ferrars and Miss Durant made their appearance together, having been 'looking everywhere for Mrs. Kendal,' and it was not in the nature ...
— The Young Step-Mother • Charlotte M. Yonge

... his three days' beard, and wriggled uncomfortably in his seat. "I can't gather much from these hints," he said with the fretful impatience of an invalid. "Give me a detailed account of this scoundrel's interview with you, and report his exact words if you can remember ...
— Red Money • Fergus Hume

... the sofa! It had stood for years, An invitation to benign repose, A foe to all the fretful brood of fears, Bidding the weary eye-lid sink and close. Massive and deep and broad it was and bland— In short the noblest sofa ...
— Punch, Or The London Charivari, Vol. 146., January 21, 1914 • Various

... Sir Fretful: "Good Heavens, you surprise me! Wants incident! I am only apprehensive that the incidents ...
— Interludes - being Two Essays, a Story, and Some Verses • Horace Smith

... times have changed since you made love, O Whiskey Bill, O Whiskey Bill! The happy sun grinned up above At Whiskey Bill. And down the middle of the street The sheriff comes on toe and feet A-wishin' for one fretful peek At Whiskey Bill. ...
— Songs of the Cattle Trail and Cow Camp • Various

... came a day when the wind gathered the dumpers and pans in one broad mass and jammed it against the coast. The sea, where it had lain black and fretful all winter long, was now covered and hidden. The ice stretched unbroken from the rocks of Ruddy Cove to the limit of vision in the east. And Bagg marvelled. There seemed to be a solid path from Ruddy Cove straight away in the direction in which Uncle Tommy Luff had said ...
— Billy Topsail & Company - A Story for Boys • Norman Duncan

... Denas felt the morning insufferably long and tedious. Her father, who had been on the sea all night, dozed in his big chair on the hearthstone. Joan was silent, and went about her duties in a tiptoeing way that was very fretful to the impatience of Denas. Denas herself was knitting a guernsey, and as she sat counting the stitches Tristram Penrose came to the door and, after a moment's pause, spoke to her. He was a fine young fellow with ...
— A Singer from the Sea • Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr

... whispered in her ear; and when Pisani turned from his employment, lo! both mother and daughter were weeping. He looked at them with a wondering stare; and then, as if he felt he had been harsh, he flew again to his Familiar. And now you thought you heard the lullaby which a fairy might sing to some fretful changeling it had adopted and sought to soothe. Liquid, low, silvery, streamed the tones beneath the enchanted bow. The most stubborn grief would have paused to hear; and withal, at times, out came a wild, merry, ringing note, like a laugh, but not mortal laughter. ...
— Zanoni • Edward Bulwer Lytton

... She was thinking that she would not have believed it possible that any one could have changed and aged so greatly in six short months. Mrs. Chilton's eyes were lusterless, her cheeks pallid and shrunken, and her forehead crossed and recrossed by fretful lines. Her mouth drooped at the corners, and her hair was combed tightly back in the unbecoming fashion that had been hers when Pollyanna first had seen her, years before. All the softness and sweetness that seemed to have ...
— Pollyanna Grows Up • Eleanor H. Porter

... upright man, and pursuing a narrow track of integrity; he is a man whom I would never forgive (as I would a thousand other men) for the slightest moral delinquency. I would not be bound to say, however, that he has not the little sin of a fretful and peevish habit; and yet perhaps I am a sinner myself ...
— Passages From the French and Italian Notebooks, Complete • Nathaniel Hawthorne

... single word to exchange: an almost after-death love. In these days Mrs. Houghton never talked—unless to fret a little. So Alvina sat for many hours in the lofty, sombre bedroom, looking out silently on the street, or hurriedly rising to attend the sick woman. For continually came the fretful murmur: ...
— The Lost Girl • D. H. Lawrence

... had gone, moving the table back under the awning of the veranda and quenching the lamp. Then he went with his quick silent tread upstairs and into Darcy's room. The latter was already in bed, but very wide-eyed and wakeful, and Frank with an amused smile of indulgence, as for a fretful child, sat down on the edge of ...
— The Best Ghost Stories • Various

... made all things in heaven and earth, and given them a law, which cannot be broken, so that all things obey him to this day—I suppose, I say, that this pleased him better than the Roman stories of many gods, who were capricious, and fretful, and quarrelled with each other in a fashion which ought to have been shocking to the conscience and reason of a ...
— Town and Country Sermons • Charles Kingsley

... purling brook, dignified by a bigger name; it is not even a succession of mill ponds like the dammed-up streams of the East: in its own name the Salagua is a Rio, broad and swift, with a current that clutches treacherously at a horse's legs and roars over the brink of stony reefs in a long, fretful line of rapids. At the head of a broad mill race, where the yellow flood waters boiled sullenly before they took their plunge, Creede pulled up and surveyed the ...
— Hidden Water • Dane Coolidge

... desperate Rebels armed with murderous guns, and there is no telling what moment a rock may take such a form as to freeze his young blood, and make each particular hair stand on end like quills upon the fretful porcupine. One has to be particular about snapping caps in his neighborhood, and give to him careful warning before discharging a carbine to clean it. His first impulse, when anything occurs to jar ...
— Andersonville, complete • John McElroy

... fawning flattery of the elder could thaw away the wall of ice which the younger interposed between them. But with her son, the old lady had better success: he would listen to all she had to say, provided she could soothe his fretful temper, and refrain from irritating him by her own asperities; and I have reason to believe that she considerably strengthened his prejudice against me. She would tell him that I shamefully neglected the children, and even his wife did ...
— Agnes Grey • Anne Bronte

... thing. He longed for Mr. Eden's hour to come; it came, but not with it came his one bit of sunshine, his excitement, his amusement, his consolation, his friend, his brother, his all. And so one heavy day succeeded another, and Robinson became fretful, and very, very sad. One day, as he sat disconsolate and foreboding in his cell, he heard a stranger's voice talking to Fry outside. And what was more strange, Fry appeared to be inviting this person to inspect the cells. The next moment his door was opened, ...
— It Is Never Too Late to Mend • Charles Reade

... he declared, half fretful, half amused. "You're features aren't so very much alike—except the eyes, they are—and your hair's darker. But you move and carry yourself and turn your head as she did. And that position you're in now—why I've seen her in it a ...
— Tristram of Blent - An Episode in the Story of an Ancient House • Anthony Hope

... that was the analogy in Voltaire's mind. Preuss says, this Nickname first occurs "12th December, 1757." Suppose 11th December to have been the day of getting one's leg bitten thrice over; and that, in bed next morning,—stiff, smarting, fretful against the sad ape-tricks and offences of this life,—before getting up to one's Works and Correspondences, the angry similitude had shot, slightly fulgurous and consolatory, athwart the gloom of ...
— History of Friedrich II. of Prussia, Vol. XIX. (of XXI.) • Thomas Carlyle

... dying down to smoldering ashes. His love for Susan faded, if not from his heart, from his eyes and lips. She was as dear to him as ever, but now with a devitalized, undemanding affection in which there was something of a child's fretful dependence. He rode beside her not looking at her, contented that she should be there, but with the thought of marriage buried out of sight under the weight of his weariness. It did not figure at all in his mind, which, when roused from apathy, reached forward into the ...
— The Emigrant Trail • Geraldine Bonner

... will look in upon you to take leave before we start. Should you be asleep, as is most likely, do not take the trouble of waking; for in a couple of days I shall be with you again.—The strangest being on earth!' he continued, turning to his new friend, 'so moping and fretful and gloomy, that he turns all his pleasures sour; or rather there is no such thing as pleasure for him. Instead of walking about with his fellow-creatures in broad daylight and enjoying himself, he gets down to the bottom ...
— The Uncollected Writings of Thomas de Quincey, Vol. 2 - With a Preface and Annotations by James Hogg • Thomas de Quincey

... and Ellen and Harold always fancied him so, when he was not very bad indeed; but for the last fortnight he had been decidedly worse, and his heart and hopes were sinking, though he would not own it to himself, and that and the pain made his spirits fail so, that he had been more inclined to be fretful than any time since his ...
— Friarswood Post-Office • Charlotte M. Yonge

... seemed to me fretful. She was angry with Lilly for talking with Lieutenant Preston; and, indeed, I must not, in honor, reveal all I read in Annette's mind. If I found there her opinion of me; if, on the whole, it lowered my opinion of myself, I must take refuge in the old proverb, "Eavesdroppers ...
— Stories by American Authors, Volume 3 • Various

... but little to say at supper. She sat by her father and ate her muffins like a very hungry, tired child—like a very cross child, Gypsy thought. Joy's face was always pale and fretful; in the bright lamplight now, after the exhaustion of the long journey, it ...
— Gypsy's Cousin Joy • Elizabeth Stuart Phelps

... was crying nearly all the night, and sometimes both were crying together. Poppy used to see her poor mother pacing up and down, backwards and forwards on the bedroom floor, trying to hush one of the fretful children to sleep. And then she would creep out of bed and say, 'Give it to me, mother, you are so ...
— Poppy's Presents • Mrs O. F. Walton

... was to cause him a vast amount of trouble, it was to have as enlarging and educative an effect upon his character as her first love affair has upon a young girl. From this moment, in fact, you are to see a shell-bound tortoise blossom into a species of fretful porcupine, his shell splintering itself into points and erecting them with blundering effectiveness against his enemies. And you shall see by what unconscious and subterranean ways ...
— King John of Jingalo - The Story of a Monarch in Difficulties • Laurence Housman

... that she was not without her troubles. For one thing, her husband's fits of moodiness and fretful anxiety troubled her, and led her, possessed as she was with a more than ordinary share of womanly shrewdness, to suspect that he was hiding something from her. But what chiefly vexed her proud nature was the necessity of concealment, and all its attendant petty falsehoods ...
— Dawn • H. Rider Haggard

... silence is once more obtained; the author finishes his task, and retires from the Green-room 369looking as blue as Megrim, and feeling as fretful as the renowned Sir Plagiary. Of the success or failure of the two productions, I shall speak in the next volume; when I propose to give the first night of a new play, with sketches of some of the critical characters who usually attend. In the evening, ...
— The English Spy • Bernard Blackmantle

... a fretful corrosive, It is applied to a deathful wound. To France, sweet Suffolk; let me hear from thee, For whereso'er thou art in this world's globe I'll have an Iris that ...
— King Henry VI, Second Part • William Shakespeare [Rolfe edition]

... He became first fretful and capricious, then silent and desponding. Finally, he sank into a lethargy of body and mind that seriously alarmed me. On the morning after our return to Fondi he showed a strange tendency to sleep incessantly, which made me suspect ...
— The Queen of Hearts • Wilkie Collins

... promise me that you will try to fill my place; that you will cherish and love your sister, with all the care and tenderness of which you are capable; and Fanny, my little darling, you must remember mamma, and try never to be peevish and fretful, so that Frank will love to be with you, and take care of you; and both of you must always be the same good and obedient children to your grand-parents, that you have ever been;" and Frank promised, through his sobs, that he would never neglect his gentle little sister. He had ...
— Frank and Fanny • Mrs. Clara Moreton

... virtuosos looked on all his associates as wretches of depraved taste and narrow notions. Their conversation was, therefore, fretful and waspish, their behaviour brutal, their merriment bluntly sarcastick, and their seriousness gloomy and suspicious. They were totally ignorant of all that passes, or has lately passed, in the world; unable ...
— The Works of Samuel Johnson - Volume IV [The Rambler and The Adventurer] • Samuel Johnson



Words linked to "Fretful" :   fretfulness, tense, antsy, itchy, complaintive, fidgety, querulous, complaining, whiny



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