- 1Make (someone) afraid or anxious: the savagery of his thoughts frightened him farmers are being frightened into scaling down their breeding plansMore example sentences
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; fill someone with fear, strike terror into, put the fear of God into, chill someone's blood, chill someone to the bone, chill someone to the marrow, make someone's blood run cold, freeze someone's blood, make someone's flesh crawl, give someone goose pimples• informal scare the living daylights out of, scare stiff, scare someone out of their wits, scare witless, scare someone (half) to death, scare the pants off, rattle, spook, make someone's hair stand on end, throw into a blue funk, make someone jump out of their skinBritish • informal put the wind up, give someone the heebie-jeebies, make someone's hair curlIrish • informal scare the bejesus out of• vulgar slang scare shitless• archaic affrightterrifying, horrifying, alarming, startling, shocking, chilling, spine-chilling, hair-raising, blood-curdling, appalling, disturbing, disconcerting, unnerving, intimidating, daunting, dismaying, upsetting, harrowing, traumatic; eerie, sinister, fearsome, dreadful, horrible, awful, nightmarish, monstrous, grim, gruesome, macabre, menacing; Scottish eldritch
- He said people should avoid wearing masks while walking from house to house as they can intimidate and frighten people.
- Like a doctor afraid to frighten a patient with a truthful diagnosis, it doesn't say half enough.
- 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.
- 1.1 (frighten someone/thing 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 claimantsMore example sentences
- People who lived here carried on pretty much as normal, but outsiders were frightened off.
- Police believe the culprits were frightened off by the alarm.
- But it needs some sort of camera or a talking sign like they have in Cheetham Street, which frightens the criminals off.
frighten the horses
- see horse.