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From Middle English, ultimately from Latin transfreto (cross a strait or sea), from trans (across) + fretum or fretus (strait, channel).


transfrete (third-person singular simple present transfretes, present participle transfreting, simple past and past participle transfreted)

  1. (dated, early modern English) To cross a channel or narrow sea.
    • Joseph Haselwood, editor, 1813 edition, c. 1567, William Painter, "The Marchionisse of Monferrato", in The Palace of Pleasure, volume 2, page 181,
      The marquesse then of Monferrato, a citye in Italy, beynge a gentleman of great prowesse and valiance, was appointed to transfrete the seas in a generall passage made by the Christians, wyth an huge armie and great furniture.
    • a. 1597, William Hunnis, "The Complaint of Old Age", in, 1859, James Hamilton, editor, Our Christian Classics: readings from the best divines, with notes biographical and critical, volume I, James Nisbet and Co., page 135,
      While foreign tongues they seek,
      Their knowledge to maintain,
      And fear not to transfrete the seas,
      And Alps to climb with pain
    • a. 1660, Thomas Urquhart translation of, François Rabelais, Gargantua and Pantagruel, book 1, chapter 33, 2005 edition, →ISBN, page 78,
      There is no need (said they) at this time; have we not hurried up and down, travelled and toyled enough, in having transfreted and past over the Hircanian sea, marched alongst the two Armenias and the three Arabias?

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