insect excrement, 1854, from German frasz, from root of fressen "to devour, to eat as a beast does" (see fret (v.)).
Entries linking to frass
Old English fretan "devour, feed upon, consume," from Proto-Germanic compound *fra-etan "to eat up," from *fra- "completely" (from PIE root *per- (1) "forward," hence "through") + *etan "to eat" (from PIE root *ed- "to eat"). Cognates include Dutch vreten, Old High German frezzan, German fressen, Gothic fraitan.
Used of monsters and Vikings; in Middle English used of animals' eating. Notion of "wear away by rubbing or scraping" (c. 1200) might have come to this word by sound-association with Anglo-French forms of Old French froter "to rub, wipe; beat, thrash," which is from Latin fricare "to rub" (see friction). Figurative use is from c. 1200, of emotions, sins, vices, etc., "to worry, consume, vex" someone or someone's heart or mind, from either the "eating" or the "rubbing" sense. Intransitive sense "be worried, vex oneself" is by 1550s. Modern German still distinguishes essen for humans and fressen for animals. Related: Fretted; fretting. As a noun, early 15c., "a gnawing," also "the wearing effect" of awareness of wrongdoing, fear, etc.
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to eat," originally "to bite."
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit admi "I eat;" Avestan ad- "to eat;" Greek edo "I eat;" Latin edere "to eat;" Lithuanian ėdu "I eat," ėdžioti "to devour, bite;" Hittite edmi "I eat," adanna "food;" Armenian utem "I eat;" Old Church Slavonic jasti "to eat," Russian jest "to eat;" Old Irish ithim "I eat;" Gothic itan, Old Swedish and Old English etan, Old High German essan "to eat."