such as to cause fright; dreadful, terrible, or alarming: A frightful howl woke us.
horrible, shocking, or revolting: The storm did frightful damage.
Informal. unpleasant; disagreeable: We had a frightful time.
Informal. very great; extreme: That actor is very talented but a frightful ham.

1200–50; Middle English; see fright, -ful

frightfully, adverb
frightfulness, noun
unfrightful, adjective

1. fearful, awful. 2. hideous, dread, horrid, ghastly; gruesome.

1, 2. delightful. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
frightful (ˈfraɪtfʊl)
1.  very alarming, distressing, or horrifying
2.  unpleasant, annoying, or extreme: a frightful hurry

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

mid-13c., "timid;" c.1600 "alarming;" from fright + -ful. In common with most -ful adjectives, it once had both an active and passive sense. Meaning "dreadful, horrible, shocking" (often hyperbolic) is attested from c.1700; Johnson noted it as "a
cant word among women for anything unpleasing." Related: Frightfully.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
The weather across the nation for much of this winter has been frightful, as
  have heating bills.
She lives below ground level, and it took me a frightful lot of effort to climb
  one flight of stairs and leave the building.
The costumes are a mixed business-some excellent, some frightful.
She was photographed cycling round the roads in frightful off-the-peg frocks.
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