Definition of freeze in English:

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Pronunciation: /friːz/

verb (past froze /frəʊz/; past participle frozen /ˈfrəʊz(ə)n/)

1(With reference to a liquid) turn or be turned into ice or another solid as a result of extreme cold: [no object]: in the winter the milk froze [with object]: frost freezes water that has seeped into joints
More example sentences
  • Since water expands as it freezes, ice forming inside pipes can break them.
  • The water vapour would rise to the uppermost atmosphere where it freezes into tiny ice crystals.
  • The water may even freeze, producing frost on the inside surface of the window.
1.1Become or cause to become blocked, covered, or rigid with ice: [no object]: the pipes had frozen [with complement]: the ground was frozen hard
More example sentences
  • You have to put cardboard up in the grates of your car to keep the engine block from freezing.
  • Trees can be planted any time before the ground freezes.
  • Planting can take place anytime the soil can be worked, as long as the plants' root structures have time to develop before the ground freezes.
turn into ice, ice over, ice up, solidify, harden
archaic glaciate
ice-cold, ice-covered, icy, ice-bound, frosted;
hard, solid, hard as iron
literary rimy
1.2Be so cold that one feels near death (often used hyperbolically): you’ll freeze to death standing there
More example sentences
  • It's minus 10 degrees outside, if he falls over he'll freeze to death!
  • I take a cardigan and a pashmina, because on many planes you can freeze to death from the air conditioning.
  • I shivered, ‘It's getting cold out here, we better head in before we freeze to death.’
feel very cold, go numb with cold, turn blue with cold, shiver, shiver with cold, get chilled, get chilled to the bone/marrow
informal feel Jack Frost's fingers
1.3 [with object] Deprive (a part of the body) of feeling, especially by the application of a chilled anaesthetic substance.
Example sentences
  • The mouth and throat are numbed up or frozen with a local anesthetic until all cough and gag reflexes are gone.
  • It's amazing how numb your mouth can be when they freeze it.
  • His mouth was frozen numb from eating so much ice cream.
2 [with object] Store (something) at a very low temperature in order to preserve it: the cake can be frozen
More example sentences
  • Most food is frozen or pre-cooked to preserve it - a great shame.
  • The cells were frozen and stored for weeks to months.
  • Either cook or freeze raw meat, fish and poultry within two days of purchasing it.
deep-freeze, quick-freeze, freeze-dry, put in the freezer, pack in ice, put on ice, ice;
store at a low temperature, chill, cool, refrigerate;
2.1 [no object, with complement] (Of food) be able to be preserved at a very low temperature: this soup freezes well
More example sentences
  • Cooked wild rice freezes well, so you can conveniently keep it on hand for gourmet dishes.
  • All these fruits freeze well except strawberries, which should be saved for the summer months.
  • It's easy to bake, being essentially a cake more than a steamed pudding, it comes with a spectacularly simple sauce, it freezes well and it reheats like a dream for seconds and thirds.
3 [no object] Become suddenly motionless or paralysed with fear or shock: she froze in horror
More example sentences
  • For a moment, there was silence in the centre of Potters Bar as everyone nearby froze at the shock of the noise and juddering force of the impact.
  • A schoolgirl told how she froze with fear as she was allegedly molested by a drunken man in an early hours attack.
  • While the two other women ran, Zhao testified that she froze, fearing she would be shot.
stop dead, stop in one's tracks, stop, stand (stock) still, go rigid, become motionless, become paralysed
3.1Stop moving when ordered: she came out with a revolver and told the boys to freeze
More example sentences
  • They all held up AK 47 at them, ordering them to freeze, and the helicopter also warned them of a sniper.
  • When he ordered everyone to freeze, they froze.
4 [with object] Hold (something) at a fixed level or in a fixed state for a period of time: new spending on defence was to be frozen
More example sentences
  • The cost of new cars is currently frozen at the same level as June 2003, making the New Year the perfect time to bag a good deal.
  • The employer contribution is frozen at the level of 6.5 percent.
  • So long as the prices of consumer goods were frozen below free-market levels, producers had little incentive to bring their goods to market.
fix, suspend, hold, peg, set;
limit, restrict, curb, check, cap, confine, control, regulate;
hold/keep down
4.1Prevent (assets) from being used for a period of time: the charity’s bank account has been frozen
More example sentences
  • Company bank accounts and assets have been frozen by Russian courts to prevent Yukos from selling businesses to fund the bill.
  • Government instructions, bankers say, were to freeze assets now and ask questions later.
  • The firm will likely be placed under court receivership, which would install trustees and freeze all company assets.
4.2Stop (a moving image) at a particular frame when filming or viewing: the camera will set fast shutter speeds to freeze the action
More example sentences
  • If you freeze the image near the start of Shadows, you'll see that it's really an abstract film.
  • The perceptual realm that we sense beyond the sphere of focused vision is as important as the focused image that can be frozen by the camera.
  • The last image, a frozen frame, is of his sad, sweet face alongside the flowers.
4.3 [no object] (Of a computer screen) become temporarily locked because of system problems.
Example sentences
  • If the screen freezes or you experience system lockups it might be due to the video card.
  • PC screens froze and, with little other choice left, the event was cancelled.
  • The system was always freezing and changing homepages in Internet Explorer.
5 [with object] Stare coldly at (someone); treat coldly: she would freeze him with a look when he tried to talk to her


1An act of holding or being held at a fixed level or in a fixed state: workers faced a pay freeze
More example sentences
  • The government has imposed a two and a half year pay freeze on teachers.
  • In the 2002 pay round, the company proposed a freeze on wages and cuts to conditions such as shift allowances and overtime rates.
  • The task force called for a freeze on all measures which would see alcohol becoming more available on the grounds that further availability would increase alcohol problems.
fix, suspension, hold
1.1 short for freeze-frame.
2A period of frost or very cold weather: the big freeze surprised the weathermen
More example sentences
  • Many problems related to the May 28 frost in 1992 were related to the cool, damp weather that followed the freeze.
  • The big freeze showed no sign of ending yesterday with savage frosts overnight and forecasters predicting temperatures as low as minus 20C.
  • It will highlight the fact that we are still living in the great ice age, which has included periods of both hot and cold weather, and will examine the two most recent big freezes in 1947 and 1963.
cold snap, spell of cold weather, freeze-up, frost


freeze one's blood

(or one's blood freezes)
Fill (or be filled) with a sudden feeling of great fear or horror: that sound froze my blood
More example sentences
  • Brian looked back at the empty chairs, a sudden terrifying thought making his blood freeze.
  • While I haven't read the story in question, as described here it freezes my blood.
  • I twisted my head to look at her- and my blood froze.

Phrasal verbs

freeze someone out

informal Behave in a hostile or obstructive way so as to exclude someone: during a banquet, she completely froze out her husband
More example sentences
  • They have always said that they were frozen out and left in the dark about how the case was proceeding.
  • Volunteers who went to the aid of a seaside carnival have claimed they were frozen out.
  • After the Australia tour of '99, Costello was frozen out, never to return under Gatland.
exclude, leave out, shut out, cut out, neglect, ignore, ostracize, reject, disown, spurn, slight, snub, shun, cut, cut dead, turn one's back on, cold-shoulder, give someone the cold shoulder, leave out in the cold;
British  send to Coventry
informal knock back, brush off, give someone the brush-off, stiff-arm, hand someone the frozen mitt
British informal blank
North American informal give someone the brush
Australian informal snout
informal, dated give someone the go-by
Christianity  excommunicate



Example sentences
  • Strain the cordial, and put into small, freezable containers.
  • It's bakeable, freezable, microwaveable, disposable cookware that's almost too attractive to leave behind.
  • This was a huge communal place where, for a rental fee, you stored freezable perishables - fish and meat.


Old English frēosan (in the phrase hit frēoseth 'it is freezing'), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch vriezen and German frieren, from an Indo-European root shared by Latin pruina 'hoar frost' and frost.

  • frost from Old English:

    This is one of our earliest English words, recorded from the 8th century and related to freeze (Old English). Not until the 19th century do we start to hear of Jack Frost. The Sporting Magazine of 1826 recorded ruefully of the effects of frozen ground, ‘Jack Frost, however, put a veto on our morning's sport.’ See also ice

Words that rhyme with freeze

Achinese, Ambonese, appease, Assamese, Balinese, Belize, Beninese, Bernese, bêtise, Bhutanese, breeze, Burmese, Cantonese, Castries, cerise, cheese, chemise, Chinese, Cingalese, Cleese, Congolese, Denise, Dodecanese, ease, éminence grise, expertise, Faroese, Fries, frieze, Gabonese, Genoese, Goanese, Guyanese, he's, Japanese, Javanese, jeez, journalese, Kanarese, Keys, Lebanese, lees, legalese, Louise, Macanese, Madurese, Maltese, marquise, Milanese, Nepalese, officialese, overseas, pease, Pekinese, Peloponnese, Piedmontese, please, Portuguese, Pyrenees, reprise, Rwandese, seise, seize, Senegalese, she's, Siamese, Sienese, Sikkimese, Sinhalese, sleaze, sneeze, squeeze, Stockton-on-Tees, Sudanese, Sundanese, Surinamese, Tabriz, Taiwanese, tease, Tees, telegraphese, these, Timorese, Togolese, trapeze, valise, Viennese, Vietnamese, vocalese, wheeze

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: freeze

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