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frighten

[frahyt-n] /ˈfraɪt n/
verb (used with object)
1.
to make afraid or fearful; throw into a fright; terrify; scare.
2.
to drive (usually followed by away, off, etc.) by scaring:
to frighten away pigeons from the roof.
verb (used without object)
3.
to become frightened:
a timid child who frightens easily.
Origin
1660-1670
1660-70; fright + -en1
Related forms
frightenable, adjective
frightener, noun
frighteningly, adverb
nonfrightening, adjective
nonfrighteningly, adverb
overfrighten, verb
unfrightening, adjective
Synonyms
1. shock, startle, dismay, intimidate. Frighten, alarm, scare, terrify, terrorize, appall all mean to arouse fear in people or animals. To frighten is to shock with sudden, startling, but usually short-lived fear, especially that arising from the apprehension of physical harm: to frighten someone by a sudden noise. To alarm is to arouse the feelings through the realization of some imminent or unexpected danger: to alarm someone by a scream. To scare is to frighten, often without the presence of real danger: Horror movies really scare me. To terrify is to strike with violent, overwhelming, or paralyzing fear: to terrify a city by lawless acts. To terrorize is to terrify in a general, continued, systematic manner, either wantonly or in order to gain control: His marauding armies terrorized the countryside. To appall is to overcome or confound by dread, dismay, shock, or horror: The suffering caused by the earthquake appalled him.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for frighten
  • But without speculators changes in demand or supply would shock and frighten everyone.
  • Some of these animals scare away or prey upon wildlife, such as birds, or frighten small children.
  • Some of these animals scare away or prey upon wildlife-such as birds-or frighten small children.
  • Or perhaps they'll try to frighten you with spiders.
  • Yet aftershocks frighten residents and complicate rescue efforts.
  • People wear red-the color of fire, and light fireworks to frighten away evil spirits.
  • Searing heat, towering dunes, gargantuan rocks and weather that would frighten a crab-boat captain are the norm.
  • Such admonitions can frighten voters, an especially pertinent concern seven months before an election.
  • The incidents of drinking, road rage, and so many more things that might set someone off frighten me more than criminals do.
  • Alternatively, you can bang on a drum to frighten the dragon into regurgitating the moon.
British Dictionary definitions for frighten

frighten

/ˈfraɪtən/
verb (transitive)
1.
to cause fear in; terrify; scare
2.
to drive or force to go (away, off, out, in, etc) by making afraid
Derived Forms
frightened, adjective
frightening, adjective
frighteningly, adverb
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 frighten
v.

1660s, from fright + -en (1). Related: Frightened; frightening. The earlier verb was simply fright (Old English fyrhtan) "to frighten."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with frighten
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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