fraught  (frôt),  adj.   1. involving; full of; accompanied by (usually fol. by with); an undertaking fraught with danger.  2. Archaic. filled or laden (with): ships fraught with precious wares.   n. 3. Scot. a load, cargo, freight (of a ship). (The Random House Dictionary of the English Language)

An OSU Alexander Technique student wrote in his weekly essay, ‘Although I awake gritting my teeth some mornings, I try to find rest and inhibit my fraught.’  Both an adjective and a noun,  ‘fraught‘ conveys much of its meaning simply by sound—-the fricative ‘f,’ the sigh of the ‘ô’ and the percussive ‘t.’ It’s a tone poem, a miniature musical composition, all in one-syllable.

And evocative of life at present. The ships of our lives are indeed fraught, loaded down with the cargo of disruption, anxieties, loss, illness. However we can lighten the load, even just a bit, will give us a ship that travels more readily and lightly through uncharted waters.

Thank you, Max, for the gift of this word at just the right moment. And a big thanks to every student whose life has been turned upside down with the closing of schools and universities. Your individual sacrifices for the greater good have not gone unnoticed. I, for one, am grateful. As Dr. Amy Acton said in Ohio’s daily COVID-19 news conference, our efforts to stay at home and observe physical distancing are making a difference.


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