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ret (v.)

"to soak stems of fibrous plants (flax, hemp, jute, etc.) to soften them," mid-15c., probably from Middle Dutch roten (or an unrecorded cognate Old Norse word that is related to Norwegian røyta, Swedish röta, Danish røde); considered to be related to Old English rotian "to rot" (see rot (v.)), but the vowel is difficult.

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Definitions of ret from WordNet

ret (v.)
place (flax, hemp, or jute) in liquid so as to promote loosening of the fibers from the woody tissue;
From wordnet.princeton.edu