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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 frightening
  • Few things are more frightening than knowing you live too far away from the nearest doctor.
  • There is no doubt that this is a frightening moment.
  • Menacing body posture can be as threatening as a frightening facial expression, according to new research.
  • Lightning is beautiful, sometimes frightening and often destructive.
  • Research released this summer helped to explain why particularly frightening experiences create such strong memories.
  • Mainly back to my childhood and it's one frightening little trip.
  • What is particularly frightening is when national policy is set based on these fantasy situations, rather than on the reality.
  • Law school seems less frightening now that the grades are getting higher.
  • No matter how frightening your fellow travellers, finding the right course is easy-so easy that even a politician could do it.
  • There is nothing quite so frightening as the idea of a sea monster.
British Dictionary definitions for frightening

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 frightening

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 frightening
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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