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[uh-frahyt] /əˈfraɪt/ Archaic.
verb (used with object)
to frighten.
sudden fear or terror; fright.
a source of terror.
the act of terrifying.
Origin of affright
before 1000; Middle English afrighten, Old English āfyrhtan, equivalent to ā- a-3 + fyrhtan to fright
Related forms
self-affrighted, adjective
unaffrighted, adjective
unaffrightedly, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for affright
Historical Examples
  • He anxiously inquired into the cause of my affright, and the motive of my unusual absence.

    Wieland; or The Transformation Charles Brockden Brown
  • She would have screamed with affright, but he grasped her by the throat, and nearly strangled her.

    City Crimes Greenhorn
  • Candace shrank away from the brink with a sensation of affright.

    A Little Country Girl Susan Coolidge
  • It was not given to her not to please, nor granted even to her best refinements to affright.

    Embarrassments Henry James
  • J follow the same system in writing my first english letter to Miss burney; after such an enterprize nothing can affright me.

  • The rider, fleeing in affright, has given no heed to direction.

    The Death Shot Mayne Reid
  • He groaned aloud unconsciously and started with affright at the sound of his own voice.

    Almayer's Folly Joseph Conrad
  • With tears of affright in her eyes, the maiden sank back and fainted.

    Aslauga's Knight Fredrich de la Motte-Fouque
  • An infirm old woman, who was at that moment crossing, screamed in affright.

    Zula H. Esselstyn Lindley
  • Primrose opened her eyes and then gave a little shriek of affright.

    A Little Girl in Old Philadelphia Amanda Minnie Douglas
British Dictionary definitions for affright


(transitive) to frighten
a sudden terror
Word Origin
Old English āfyrhtan, from a-, a prefix indicating the beginning or end of an action + fyrhtan to fright
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for affright

1580s, a late construction from a- (1) + fright (v.), probably on model of earlier past participle adjective affright "struck with sudden fear" (metathesized from Old English afyrht). Related: Affrighted; affrighting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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