Definition of frighten in English:

frighten

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1Make (someone) afraid or anxious.

    ‘the savagery of his thoughts frightened him’
    ‘farmers are being frightened into scaling down their breeding plans’
    • ‘I must warn you that this image will shock and frighten you and if you are old or weak please do not look at it.’
    • ‘The Master, James, finally dies only after he has succeeded in frightening his luckless victim into dying first.’
    • ‘It's not the distance we will walk that frightens us, but the variety of climates we will have to contend with.’
    • ‘This woman's rage frightens me.’
    • ‘Yet, there is enough in the survey to frighten many.’
    • ‘It was an accomplishment, to frighten the person who had so often terrified him.’
    • ‘You know, that argument really frightens me.’
    • ‘His change in tone frightened her and she knew that his next words would chill her to the bone.’
    • ‘Being unemployed neither bores nor frightens me.’
    • ‘This frightens me because I will turn twenty this year.’
    • ‘Wind frightens her, especially at night as it sends chills down her spine.’
    • ‘‘This frightens us,’ said Belgian Farm Minister Jaak Gabriels.’
    • ‘He said people should avoid wearing masks while walking from house to house as they can intimidate and frighten people.’
    • ‘They were afraid that the sounds and smells would frighten him more.’
    • ‘This administration sickens, disgusts, and frightens me.’
    • ‘But what really frightens me is what happens on the next day.’
    • ‘She grew afraid that the men who had frightened her before would try to harm her.’
    • ‘And that's what frightens me about this election on Saturday.’
    • ‘The whole drugs thing does frighten me, and I know it frightens other athletes.’
    • ‘Like a doctor afraid to frighten a patient with a truthful diagnosis, it doesn't say half enough.’
    scare, startle, alarm, terrify, petrify, shock, chill, appal, agitate, panic, throw into panic, fluster, ruffle, shake, disturb, disconcert, unnerve, unman, intimidate, terrorize, cow, daunt, dismay
    terrifying, horrifying, alarming, startling, shocking, chilling, spine-chilling, hair-raising, blood-curdling, appalling, disturbing, disconcerting, unnerving, intimidating, daunting, dismaying, upsetting, harrowing, traumatic
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1frighten someone/something off Deter someone or something from involvement or action by making them afraid.
      ‘if you say anything to him you might frighten him off’
      ‘the government denies legal responsibility, presumably to frighten off other claimants’
      • ‘Clark pulled the baton out of his vehicle and waved it at them to frighten them off, and was later arrested.’
      • ‘There was a further struggle in which they tried to take the bag but the milkman's shouts frightened them off.’
      • ‘Police believe the culprits were frightened off by the alarm.’
      • ‘The eagerness almost frightened Anna off, but she also found it incredibly sweet.’
      • ‘But it needs some sort of camera or a talking sign like they have in Cheetham Street, which frightens the criminals off.’
      • ‘If you have read this far and I haven't managed to frighten you off and you'd still like to hire me, then great!’
      • ‘‘A fat man in the queue frightened me off,’ said Simon.’
      • ‘Richard comes across Mel in a bar and drags her outside to demand his credit cards back and frighten her off once and for all.’
      • ‘He was terrified, however, that his demonic heritage would frighten her off and hid it as best he could.’
      • ‘That usually frightens the crowd off for a while.’
      • ‘Once when they tried to frighten it off, it seized the drogue rope and gave the dinghy a spin.’
      • ‘People who lived here carried on pretty much as normal, but outsiders were frightened off.’
      • ‘I am not saying this to frighten you off but to give you an idea of what the world there is like.’
      • ‘‘The amount of bad media coverage frightened the guy off,’ he said.’
      • ‘Since it's the first living thing he's seen in ages, he pursues it and only manages to frighten it off.’
      • ‘What was it about this project that had frightened them off?’
      • ‘The rabbit will sit and stare at the light until something else frightens it off or it is shot.’
      • ‘They got in and took a few things, but the alarm frightened them off before they got much.’
      • ‘They decided to frighten her off by firing an arrow so it would noisily strike the pot.’
      • ‘A squirrel got into his birdfeeder and he tried to frighten it off with an air rifle, but he killed it instead and was sick for a week.’
    2. 1.2no object (of a person) become afraid or anxious.
      ‘at his age, I guess he doesn't frighten any more’

Phrases

  • frighten the horses

    • usually with negativeDo something likely to cause public outrage or offence.

      ‘David's views would not have frightened the horses’
      • ‘Although the minimum wage was introduced at a level calculated not to frighten the horses, its potential ratcheting up is a ticking time-bomb in the engine room of the economy.’
      • ‘The number one priority in TV comedy today is ' don't frighten the horses ', and it's probably number two and three as well.’
      • ‘Even on the fashion front, although the dresses were classically glamorous, not one would have frightened the horses.’
      • ‘We don't want him frightening the horses of middle England when the Tories finally have some momentum.’
      • ‘Labour is still afraid, or unwilling, to say exactly what it is doing, so it uses euphemisms which won't frighten the horses.’
      • ‘The Government does not want to frighten the horses.’
      • ‘Who cares what the Bishop of Reading gets up to in his spare time; provided he doesn't do it in the street and frighten the horses?’
      • ‘David's views, which surely should have been known, would not have frightened the horses.’
      • ‘Has been stealthily been doing his bit to redistribute wealth without frightening the horses (and the newspapers).’
      • ‘In order to stay in office, such a government would probably do very little to frighten the horses.’

Pronunciation

frighten

/ˈfrʌɪt(ə)n/