Definition of frightener in English:



  • 1A person or thing that frightens someone.

    • ‘The fire at Fat Boy's was only meant to be a frightener.’
    • ‘At 42 inches long, the freshwater frightener was deemed ‘a very big catch any fisherman would be proud of’ by Bob Carlson, the owner of Carlson's Fishing Tackle, Kendal.’
    • ‘So Eriksson, in a move of stunning and unexpected simplicity, has made the second frightener his captain.’
    1. 1.1British informal A member of a criminal gang who intimidates its victims.
      • ‘More than once he has had to flee his home to escape armed frighteners.’


  • put the frighteners on

    • informal Threaten or intimidate (someone)

      ‘trying to put the frighteners on those who wish to roam over open country is childish’
      • ‘Hard as it is to believe, Grover the ex-boxer and former East End man about town, felt as though someone was putting the frighteners on him.’
      • ‘We'll see if our little ‘chat’ puts the frighteners on them.’
      • ‘It has also been accused of failing to put the frighteners on the industry's rogues.’
      • ‘He wanted Mr Blythe ‘to put the frighteners on him’.’
      • ‘Was this a tactic to put the frighteners on them?’
      • ‘We hear from Felix Miller, whose social networking site based on the music tastes of its 15 million users is putting the frighteners on traditional radio operators.’
      • ‘Our object in this was simply to put the frighteners on the Brum group.’
      • ‘Forget ghosts and ghouls - this Halloween it's trick-or-treaters who are putting the frighteners on the nation and wreaking havoc on our homes, according to new research released today.’
      • ‘This clanking robotic automaton is about a meter tall and capable of putting the frighteners on any household pet.’
      • ‘If this predictable attitude is supposed to put the frighteners on people who want be part of the paper rather than be lectured at then there's bad news from markets around the world.’
      intimidate, coerce, domineer, browbeat, bully, tyrannize, pressurize, threaten, compel, pressure, put pressure on, force, drive, impel, constrain
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