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From Old French freschete, a diminutive of fres (fresh) via its feminine form fresche.



freshet (plural freshets)

  1. A flood resulting from heavy rain or a spring thaw.
    • 1831, John James Audubon, Early Settlers Along the Mississippi
      Log after log is hauled to the bank of the river, and in a short time their first raft is made on the shore and loaded with cordwood. When the next freshet sets it afloat, it is secured by long grapevines or cables until, the proper time being arrived, the husband and sons embark on it and float down the mighty stream.
    • 1913, Robert Barr, chapter 4, in Lord Stranleigh Abroad[1]:
      “My father had ideas about conservation long before the United States took it up. [] You preserve water in times of flood and freshet to be used for power or for irrigation throughout the year. …”
  2. (poetic) A small stream, especially one flowing into the sea.
    • 1936, Henry Miller, “Into the Night Life …”, in Black Spring, Paris: The Obelisk Press [], OCLC 459562537; republished New York, N.Y.: Grove Press, 1963, →ISBN, page 178:
      Between the curbs and the snow banks a freshet of clear blue water rises. Within me a freshet that chokes the narrow gorge of my veins.
    • 1959, Joseph Mitchell, The Rivermen
      We may find a dozen big catfish lying in the belly of the net, or a couple of walleyed pike, or some other kind of fresh-water fish. A freshet brought them down, and they were making their way back up the river, and they hit the net.