early 15c. "transporting of goods and passengers by water," variant of fraght, which is from Middle Dutch or Middle Low German vracht, vrecht (see fraught). Danish fragt, Swedish frakt apparently also are from Dutch or Frisian. Also from Low German are Portuguese frete, Spanish flete, and French fret, which might have changed the vowel in this variant of the English word. Meaning "cargo of a ship" is from c. 1500. Freight-train is from 1841.