Definition of frighten in US English:

frighten

verb

[with object]
  • 1Make (someone) afraid or anxious.

    ‘the savagery of his thoughts frightened him’
    ‘people were no longer easily frightened into docility’
    • ‘This woman's rage frightens me.’
    • ‘‘This frightens us,’ said Belgian Farm Minister Jaak Gabriels.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He said people should avoid wearing masks while walking from house to house as they can intimidate and frighten people.’
    • ‘You know, that argument really frightens me.’
    • ‘It's not the distance we will walk that frightens us, but the variety of climates we will have to contend with.’
    • ‘This administration sickens, disgusts, and frightens me.’
    • ‘This frightens me because I will turn twenty this year.’
    • ‘His change in tone frightened her and she knew that his next words would chill her to the bone.’
    • ‘But what really frightens me is what happens on the next day.’
    • ‘Yet, there is enough in the survey to frighten many.’
    • ‘Wind frightens her, especially at night as it sends chills down her spine.’
    • ‘Being unemployed neither bores nor frightens me.’
    • ‘They were afraid that the sounds and smells would frighten him more.’
    • ‘She grew afraid that the men who had frightened her before would try to harm her.’
    • ‘It was an accomplishment, to frighten the person who had so often terrified him.’
    • ‘Like a doctor afraid to frighten a patient with a truthful diagnosis, it doesn't say half enough.’
    • ‘The whole drugs thing does frighten me, and I know it frightens other athletes.’
    • ‘The Master, James, finally dies only after he has succeeded in frightening his luckless victim into dying first.’
    • ‘And that's what frightens me about this election on Saturday.’
    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.
      • ‘Police believe the culprits were frightened off by the alarm.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The eagerness almost frightened Anna off, but she also found it incredibly sweet.’
      • ‘What was it about this project that had frightened them off?’
      • ‘They decided to frighten her off by firing an arrow so it would noisily strike the pot.’
      • ‘Once when they tried to frighten it off, it seized the drogue rope and gave the dinghy a spin.’
      • ‘The rabbit will sit and stare at the light until something else frightens it off or it is shot.’
      • ‘People who lived here carried on pretty much as normal, but outsiders were frightened off.’
      • ‘They got in and took a few things, but the alarm frightened them off before they got much.’
      • ‘‘A fat man in the queue frightened me off,’ said Simon.’
      • ‘That usually frightens the crowd off for a while.’
      • ‘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!’
      • ‘He was terrified, however, that his demonic heritage would frighten her off and hid it as best he could.’
      • ‘Clark pulled the baton out of his vehicle and waved it at them to frighten them off, and was later arrested.’
      • ‘I am not saying this to frighten you off but to give you an idea of what the world there is like.’
      • ‘Since it's the first living thing he's seen in ages, he pursues it and only manages to frighten it off.’
      • ‘There was a further struggle in which they tried to take the bag but the milkman's shouts frightened them off.’
      • ‘‘The amount of bad media coverage frightened the guy off,’ he said.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But it needs some sort of camera or a talking sign like they have in Cheetham Street, which frightens the criminals off.’
    2. 1.2no object (of a person) become afraid or anxious.
      ‘at his age, I guess he doesn't frighten any more’

Pronunciation

frighten

/ˈfrītn//ˈfraɪtn/