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[uh-frahyt] /əˈfraɪt/ Archaic.
verb (used with object)
to frighten.
sudden fear or terror; fright.
a source of terror.
the act of terrifying.
Origin of affright
before 1000; Middle English afrighten, Old English āfyrhtan, equivalent to ā- a-3 + fyrhtan to fright
Related forms
self-affrighted, adjective
unaffrighted, adjective
unaffrightedly, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for affright
Historical Examples
  • In a swerve he almost stopped, every muscle of his big body trembling in affright.

    Thoroughbreds W. A. Fraser
  • Polly lingered near, affright in her heart, Oh, if her father were only there!

  • Her eyes roved to Garnache's, and fell away in affright before their glitter.

    St. Martin's Summer Rafael Sabatini
  • Blood and wounds, Master Joseph, think you to affright me with words?

    The Tavern Knight Rafael Sabatini
  • He groaned aloud unconsciously and started with affright at the sound of his own voice.

    Almayer's Folly Joseph Conrad
  • To tell the truth, these modernists did not permit the hereafter to awe or affright them.

    The Tyranny of the Dark Hamlin Garland
  • The man who was looking through the desk sprang up in affright.

    Jack O' Judgment Edgar Wallace
  • They soon, however, got over their affright, and returned to their repast.

    The Forest Exiles Mayne Reid
  • The very thought of it causes the sailor to shiver with affright.

    The Boy Slaves Mayne Reid
  • With a shriek of affright she plunged boldly into the midst of the smoke.

    Nine Little Goslings

    Susan Coolidge
British Dictionary definitions for affright


(transitive) to frighten
a sudden terror
Word Origin
Old English āfyrhtan, from a-, a prefix indicating the beginning or end of an action + fyrhtan to fright
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for affright

1580s, a late construction from a- (1) + fright (v.), probably on model of earlier past participle adjective affright "struck with sudden fear" (metathesized from Old English afyrht). Related: Affrighted; affrighting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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