early 14c. (late 13c. in Anglo-Latin), "young fish," probably from an Anglo-French noun from Old French frier, froier "to rub, spawn (by rubbing abdomen on sand)," from Vulgar Latin *frictiare. First applied to human offspring c. 1400, in Scottish. Some sources trace this usage, or the whole of the word, to Old Norse frjo, fræ "seed, offspring."