Definition of fright in US English:



  • 1A sudden intense feeling of fear.

    ‘I jumped up in fright’
    • ‘Thoroughly demoralized by my dream, I was in a state of nervous fright by the time I got to the venue.’
    • ‘The conclusion was she probably died of fright from an attack by the neighbour's cat.’
    • ‘Forgive me if I appear to be laughing it off - nervous laughter is sometimes the only defense we have against panic and fright.’
    • ‘Last year hundreds of birds died of fright due to fireworks being set off near the Hutchinson Road sanctuary.’
    • ‘Bridget paled with fright, but looked at her cousin sternly.’
    • ‘Her eyes were damp with tears and her face pale with fright and pain, so her forced smile seemed very out of place.’
    • ‘There is continued expert support for the Freudian view which emphasized the importance of the element of sudden fright or surprise in neurosis following trauma.’
    • ‘An owl fluttered its wings and both Heidi and I jumped out of fright.’
    • ‘You will scream, you will shudder, you will turn pale with fright.’
    • ‘Mary, a short pug-nosed brunette, jumped in fright at the sudden entrance of a stranger and opened her mouth to scream but no sound came.’
    • ‘He noticed Trudy standing in the doorway, her face pale with fright.’
    • ‘A voice answered from behind her, before a wrinkled hand clamped down on the girl's shoulder, making her jump into the air from a case of sudden fright.’
    • ‘Although she was pale with fright and nauseous from the strain, Ava had to chuckle.’
    • ‘I have had several people jump with fright when they see it.’
    • ‘Before she could finish the sentence, Fran let out a sudden cry of fright as she was swept up off her feet.’
    • ‘Carla shrieked in fright, jumping sideways before realizing she was being confronted by two, more than likely, perfectly harmless fans.’
    • ‘The reality of such fears is borne out by the evidence of tombstones testifying to those who died of fright after seeing a ghost.’
    • ‘He jumped in fright, swerved and nearly crashed the cab.’
    • ‘I noticed someone who was examining the corpse turn pale with fright as he turned to the officer.’
    • ‘The workshop was tutored step-by-step and was aided by video counselling in overcoming stage fear and fright.’
    fear, fearfulness, terror, horror, alarm, panic, dread, trepidation, uneasiness, nervousness, apprehension, apprehensiveness, consternation, dismay, perturbation, disquiet, discomposure
    scare, shock, surprise, turn, jolt, start
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    1. 1.1count noun An experience that causes one to feel sudden intense fear.
      ‘she's had a nasty fright’
      ‘I got the fright of my life seeing her in the hotel’
      • ‘So they created stage shows filled with magic tricks and mayhem, tied them to films about werewolves and zombies and took them out on tour, playing local theaters and auditoriums, promising a thousand and one frights.’
      • ‘Judge Oliver McGuinness said he believed that Dwyer knew that his activities could give someone a nasty fright.’
      • ‘Hibs have played some terrific football this season and given Celtic frights in their past two contests.’
      • ‘‘That's an awful lot of anxious households who have nasty frights for nothing,’ says Hazel Thornton, a research Fellow at Leicester University's Department of Health Sciences.’
      • ‘Anthony Quinn also got a good jolt or two saying that ‘Once the frights began I was jumping from my seat as if poked in the back by a cattle-prod’.’
      • ‘Among his paintings are a number in which the hot and cold chills of fevers, their hallucinations and frights, are vividly evoked in what might be thought of as sickbed scenes.’
      • ‘One day, arriving home after a morning of swimming and diving in the village river, Vernel got the fright of his life.’
      • ‘That there are no frights in a film based on classic horror concepts doesn't seem to bother Sommers, whose only moment of something approaching real emotion comes during the end credits, when he dedicates the film to his dad.’
      • ‘As it stands, the film is just slightly above mundane and should provide audiences with some decent, if bland, frights.’
      • ‘Wharfedale started the second-half the strongest, and gave Ilkley a few frights early on but determined defence work kept them at bay.’
      • ‘This was the first real shock I had encountered in all my frights and surprises of the past day and a half.’
      • ‘To make a long story short, Lowtax and Fragmaster manage to survive the night, after a few frights caused by a stray cat and a hilarious concoction of paranoia and tequila.’
      • ‘Such natural frights in the night are acceptable.’
      • ‘It's my duty to let you gore hounds know that there's little in the way of blood or monsters here - the film relies solely on visceral sounds and editing to convey its frights.’
      • ‘I continued my journey, and though I say this with such a casual tone, it would be quite a fright when I experienced my upcoming conflict.’
      • ‘There are some decent frights here, but ultimately everything feels far, far too predictable.’
      • ‘There are those heartbeat-increasing frights that only the best games of the horror genre have had.’
      • ‘The first time I experienced it, it gave me the fright of my life.’
      • ‘A terrified dad got the fright of his life when he answered his door to find 10 armed police officers shouting and pointing guns at him.’
      • ‘‘Let's give Gordon the fright of his life ’, he urged them.’


[with object]archaic
  • Frighten.

    ‘come, be comforted, he shan't fright you’
    • ‘Our long ride from Newark to Chester had wearied me, and the restive days of preparation had both excited and frighted me.’
    • ‘Boswell was easily frighted when talk turned to the supernatural.’
    • ‘So we should be frighted about the abilities we possess.’
    • ‘He set up his pipes in the cart and frighted the bearers and others so that they ran away.’
    • ‘The foolish boy was frighted out of his wits.’
    frighten, make afraid, make fearful, make nervous, panic, throw into a panic
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  • look a fright

    • informal Have a disheveled or grotesque appearance.

      • ‘She knew she would look a fright in the morning and could not even fix her hair as her bedchamber had no mirrors.’
      • ‘My face was pale, I looked a fright, and I was surprised at the tears that were in my eyes.’
      • ‘No wonder you are trembling, I certainly look a fright.’
      • ‘Playwright Benn Levy said flatly: ‘She looks a fright, her manner is objectionable, and she has no talent.’’
      • ‘Needless to say, I must have looked a fright.’
      • ‘He's green, foul-smelling, warty, impolite and looks a fright.’
      • ‘And though my head hurts a bit and I'm sure I look a fright, I'm awake, and so happy.’
      • ‘She knew she looked a fright and was trying to lay low.’
      • ‘She realized she probably looked a fright in muddy breeches, and reached up to push a wisp of hair out of her eyes.’
      • ‘Yes, Cookie looks a fright in this picture - this is how messy she usually looks when she gets home from daycare.’
      ugly sight, horrible sight, grotesque sight, eyesore, monstrosity, horror, frightful spectacle
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  • take fright

    • Suddenly become frightened or panicked.

      • ‘Every time they scampered forward in the opening half hour, the hosts took fright, sporting that look which befalls turkeys each time the barn door is unlatched.’
      • ‘But fortunately the vandals took fright and scampered away in a hurry.’
      • ‘Suddenly his horse took fright, and he was carried with dreadful rapidity through the entangled forest.’
      • ‘When the alarm is given Sikes takes fright and escapes, and Oliver is shot and wounded.’
      • ‘If investors take fright, stocks could fall below their current levels, they said.’
      • ‘Horses can take fright easily, so adjust your driving as soon as you see horses on the road ahead of you.’
      • ‘They took fright and would have tipped her body into the sea, had not Haiho stopped them.’
      • ‘The horses pulling the carriage suddenly took fright for no apparent reason, snapped the traces and bolted off, startling both the hosts and their guest of honour.’
      • ‘The horse drawing this vehicle also took fright and flung its driver and passenger into the road, injuring them both.’
      • ‘Imagine now that house prices carried on falling for the next six months and that consumers took fright.’
      be alarmed, be scared, be nervous, be afraid, overreact, become panic-stricken, take fright, be filled with fear, be terrified, be agitated, be hysterical, lose one's nerve, be perturbed, get overwrought, get worked up, fall to pieces, go to pieces, lose control, fall apart
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Old English fryhto, fyrhto (noun), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch furcht and German furcht.