- thrown into a fright; afraid; scared; terrified: a frightened child cowering in the corner.
- afraid; fearful (usually followed by of): He has always been frightened of heights.
Origin of frightened
2. See afraid.
- to make afraid or fearful; throw into a fright; terrify; scare.
- to drive (usually followed by away, off, etc.) by scaring: to frighten away pigeons from the roof.
- to become frightened: a timid child who frightens easily.
Origin of frighten
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
1. shock, startle, dismay, intimidate.
1. Frighten, alarm, scare, terrify, terrorize, appall all mean to arouse fear in people or animals. To frighten is to shock with sudden, startling, but usually short-lived fear, especially that arising from the apprehension of physical harm: to frighten someone by a sudden noise. To alarm is to arouse the feelings through the realization of some imminent or unexpected danger: to alarm someone by a scream. To scare is to frighten, often without the presence of real danger: Horror movies really scare me. To terrify is to strike with violent, overwhelming, or paralyzing fear: to terrify a city by lawless acts. To terrorize is to terrify in a general, continued, systematic manner, either wantonly or in order to gain control: His marauding armies terrorized the countryside. To appall is to overcome or confound by dread, dismay, shock, or horror: The suffering caused by the earthquake appalled him.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for frightened
I am frightened by how much of this is caused by organized retail crime.The Insane $11 Billion Scam at Retailers’ Return Desks
December 19, 2014
Even as early as December 4, remarks from inside the bubble were cryptic and frightened.Pyongyang Shuffle: Hollywood In Dead Panic Over Sony Hack
December 19, 2014
Holmes seemed to expedite matters promptly, amid rumors that she was frightened of the Church of Scientology.How Can Katie Holmes Escape Tom Cruise—and ‘Dawson’s Creek’?
October 30, 2014
The people seemed not at all frightened as they trooped past to begin their day.From Ebola Country to NYC’s Subways
October 25, 2014
One thing I was frightened of was that there are no huge names in On the Town.Nigel Lythgoe on How to Save Reality TV, ‘On the Town,’ and ‘Brokeback Ballroom’
October 22, 2014
De Lord A'mighty 'd come and frightened 'em all out of de waters.Harriet, The Moses of Her People
Sarah H. Bradford
When the storm came, she was frightened, and said, 'It is a retribution.'Malbone
Thomas Wentworth Higginson
He was repeating like a frightened child, "For God's sake, Hal, don't die—don't die."Way of the Lawless
I was frightened, to be sure, yet I knew scarcely what to do.Biography of a Slave
There's really nothing at all to be frightened about, my dear child.Within the Law
- to cause fear in; terrify; scare
- to drive or force to go (away, off, out, in, etc) by making afraid
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
Word Origin and History for frightened
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Idioms and Phrases with frightened
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.