Frit - frightened

Montesacro

Senior Member
Italiano
Frit (past participle of frighten) is not a standard English word yet it appears to be common in large parts of England (used informally, of course).

Out of sheer curiosity:
  • Is it understood elsewhere (for example in the US)?
  • Was frit originally the correct inflected form of the verb to frighten (eventually replaced by frightened)? Or perhaps it’s always been a local dialectal form?

Cheers
 
  • Matching Mole

    Senior Member
    England, English
    Frit is dialect and colloquial. It's not universal in Britain; I'd never heard it until it was famously used by Margaret Thatcher.

    To frighten is quite a late formation (c. 17th c.), and I am sure frit precedes it. Before "frighten" was common the verb used was "fright", and frit is in fact the past participle of "fright".
     

    Matching Mole

    Senior Member
    England, English
    That's what I was referring to Teddy. I also found it mentioned on a site about Northamptonshire dialect words. We used to say "frittened" in my part of Yorkshire, e.g. "Frittened to death" (although I don't recall "frit" as such: I'm fairly sure we didn't say it). I think, therefore, the change from "fright" to "frit" may not be an unlikely one generally, and that it may appear in a number of dialects.
     

    Montesacro

    Senior Member
    Italiano
    Thanks for your replies.

    (...) We used to say "frittened" in my part of Yorkshire, e.g. "Frittened to death" (...)
    Is frittened a simple phonetic transcription of the way frightened was pronounced in Yorkshire? Or is (was) it actually a different autonomous word?

    I think, therefore, the change from "fright" to "frit" may not be an unlikely one generally, and that it may appear in a number of dialects.
    Possibly the things went the other way round, i.e. there was a phonetic change from "frit" to "fright" that did not take place in a number of dialects?
     

    anothersmith

    Senior Member
    English, U.S.
    Frit (past participle of frighten) is not a standard English word yet it appears to be common in large parts of England (used informally, of course).

    Out of sheer curiosity:
    • Is it understood elsewhere (for example in the US)?


    • No, not in any part of the U.S. where I have lived. What a great word for Scrabble!
     

    eno2

    Senior Member
    Dutch-Flemish
    < Cameron is looking frit. >

    I read this sentence in "The Guardian"
    But although I can suppose what it means, I cannot find the meaning of "frit" anywhere
    Crushed?
     
    Last edited by a moderator:

    sound shift

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It's said to be a dialect word from the county of Lincolnshire, meaning "frightened" ("scared"). The press claimed that Mrs Thatcher, who was from Lincolnshire, used it while prime minister to describe a political opponent - and the political press has been using it ever since.
     

    natkretep

    Moderato con anima (English Only)
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Mod note: eno2's thread (beginning with post 8) has been merged with an earlier thread. Nat

    Eno2, please scroll up: the earlier comments might be of help.

     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    The past and past-participle variants of English strong verbs are many and wonderful. One thing that happens is that local variants in one verb often arise by analogy with another, unrelated, one. So although earlier fright and modern frighten are now seen as regular verbs with their past forms in -ed, some dialects have taken the analogy of another verb (bite-bit perhaps?). A similar phenomenon is seen with BEng dive-dived and AEng dive-dove.
     
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