I’ve recently noticed a marked increase in the use of the word “fraught” in news items and editorials, among other places. It seems to be making quite a comeback in popular journalism. I’m quite familiar with the word, as it commonly appears in literature, but I don’t remember it showing up that much in common parlance.
Here’s what bothers me: it doesn’t seem to be used correctly most of the time. Specifically, I frequently see it used without an explanatory prepositional phrase.
Wondering if I was completely bonkers in this, I looked up the word “fraught” in Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (Eleventh Edition). As it happens, I was partially right. Here’s the definition (in relevant part):
1 archaic a : LADEN b : well supplied or provided 2 : full of or accompanied by something specified—used with with 3 : causing or characterized by emotional distress or tension : UNEASY