Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Fraught with... well, nothing

Can something be just "fraught", and not "fraught with ________"? Steven Lee Myers in the NY Times yesterday:
The arrest of the four Russian officers last week on espionage charges touched off a new round of furious accusations between the two countries, whose relations have been fraught for years.
American Heritage says "Marked by or causing distress; emotional" is acceptable, but gives the word's origin as the same Middle English ancestor of "freight".

Perhaps communications and signals could be just "fraught", meaning some version of "loaded", but Myers seems to mean fraught with tension, not with meaning or weight.